Stanton Williams and Asif Khan have been announced as the winners of the competition to design the new Museum of London at West Smithfield. Beating out 70 entries from top firms and a shortlist including BIG, Caruso St. John and Lacaton & Vassal, the winning proposal was selected for its “innovative thinking, sensitivity to the heritage of existing market buildings and understanding of practicalities of creating a great museum experience.”
As part of London’s Smithfield Market, the museum will consist of a combination of new construction and adaptive reuse. Emphasizing the need for preservation, Stanton Williams and Asif Khan will work with conversation architect Julian Harrap and landscape design consultants J&L Gibbons to ensure the integrity of the historic site is maintained.
“Encountering the historic market spaces for the first time in early April this year, we were ‘blown away’ by the power and physicality already existing, and knew then, that whatever scheme we developed, this physicality needed to be harnessed, and not lost, and that initial observation has inspired our initial design proposals,” said Paul Williams, Director of Stanton Williams. “This project will engage a broad community well beyond London.”
Early concepts for the design show a crisp and contemporary vision with a strong respect for the existing spaces of the West Smithfield site. New elements will include a landmark to dome draw light into the museum entrance, innovative spiral escalators to transport visitors down into the exhibition galleries, large flexible spaces for events and debate, and a sunken garden and green spaces to provide pockets of respite.
“We all know the power of public spaces in changing our city and our individual lives, and this is what drives us. We want the Museum of London to be a museum where everyone belongs, and where the future of London is created,” added Asif Khan.
Evan Davis, Chair of the Jury, said of the decision: “Stanton Williams and Asif Khan offered some really innovative thinking, and managed to combine a sensitivity to the heritage of the location, with a keen awareness of the practicalities of delivering a really functional museum."
The winning team will now work with the museum and stakeholders to develop final proposals for the site, with a planning application scheduled to follow in 2018.