The Natural History Museum has announced the winner of the design competition to redevelop its grounds in South Kensington, London as Niall McLaughlin Architects with Kim Wilkie. The aim is to create an innovative landscaped environment that matches the visual qualities of the world-famous Waterhouse building and Darwin Centre and will improve the experience for the 5 million visitors the Museum receives every year.
The competition was launched in autumn 2013 and the four other teams who were shortlisted were BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group) with Martha Schwartz Partners, Grant Associates with Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, Land Use Consultants (LUC) with Design Engine, and Stanton Williams Architects with Bradley-Hole Schoenaich Landscape Architects.
Dr Michael Dixon, Director of the Natural History Museum said, ‘I am delighted we are appointing a team that fully understands the Museum’s opportunities and challenges for the future. I’m looking forward to working with Niall McLaughlin Architects over the coming months to develop a new design for our grounds that enhances the character of the buildings and gives our increasing visitor numbers the best possible experience’
Niall McLaughlin said, ‘We are delighted to have won this significant commission, particularly given the high quality of the work by all of the shortlisted candidates. The Natural History Museum offers the opportunity for us to reflect upon the relationship between an important building and the natural landscape that surrounds it. We look forward to deepening our understanding of the natural world and thinking about how the public will access this knowledge in the future’
McLaughlin’s scheme includes a tower in front of the 1980′s extension by David Church, that will mirror the Waterhouse towers on the original 19th century façade. The scheme will connect into the proposed refurbishment of the tunnel from South Kensington station compliment the new landscaped courtyard in the Victoria and Albert Museum at the other side of Exhibition Road.