The practice was appointed in 2006 through an RIBA competition and was tasked with measures including the improvement of ‘physical and intellectual access’ and ensuring the ‘long term preservation of the museum’s collection,’ according to founder Hugh Broughton.
Running between the new extension and the existing building a ‘consistent palette’ has been applied inside including a chevron pattern oak floor and fermacell lined walls as well as ‘practical but subtle lighting,’ says Broughton.
‘Where possible we’ve tried to open up views of older parts of the museum, including a new orientation gallery where you now have views of old Tudor facades which were blocked out by a loading bay,’ says Broughton.
The process has been one of ‘knitting together new and old to create a free-flowing pattern of circulation,’ says Broughton who adds, ‘I’m a big fan of museums where you can get lost and come across things rather then follow a prosaic circulation.’
To this end the Japanese gallery plus two others have been reconfigured so that visitors can now move between them in different ways.
The new wing and refurbished museum opens on Friday.