Museum of London to unveil 20m extension

The Museum of London has unveiled plans for a 20m extension designed by Ian Ritchie Architects. The Rotunda History Centre will house two permanent exhibitions, designed by Land Design Studio and by Bob Baxter at Amalgam.

The new landmark building will also house a 400m2 gallery for temporary exhibitions. But it is the two major exhibitions which will break new ground, the museum claims.

The London Time Machine, being designed by Land Design Studio, will occupy the major, middle part of the new building at the junction of Aldersgate Street and London Wall.

Costed at around 3.2m, the Time Machine will be thoroughly interactive, enabling visitors to learn how museums identify objects and gain insight into the past. Visitors will then try out their newly-gained skills by identifying objects from the museum’s collections while being “transported back into the past” to see the objects in use during recreated periods of London’s history. Baxter’s project is the 1.6m World City Gallery, located at the top of the Rotunda. The gallery will exploit the museum’s collections recording the history of London as a financial centre.

Text-based explanations will be kept to a minimum, says the museum, with sound, film, computer-generated images and projections given greater emphasis. The gallery’s top-floor location will give visitors a “spectacular” view of the City itself, says a museum spokesman.

No decisions have yet been taken on any additional graphics work for the new extension, such as a corporate identity, but the museum spokesman says it is unlikely any further design appointments will be made.

An application has been made for 12.5m from the Heritage Lottery Fund. If successful, the museum will open its new extension in the autumn of 2000.

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