The Wellcome Wing Science Museum, London SW7 Project info

The Wellcome Wing

Science Museum, London SW7

A theatre of science

The extension to the Science Museum, designed by MJP Architects, is devoted to contemporary science and technology.

Flexibility and efficiency

The creation of this new wing presented a practical challenge to make a museum environment that was inherently flexible and adaptable but at the same time operationally efficient and easy to maintain.

…it has a totally different and more magical atmosphere from the conventional galleries through which it is reached

Peter Davey, Architectural Review

The brief and the design

The brief for the public areas of the building required flexible, column-free, exhibition space, along with a 450 seat IMAX 3-D cinema and catering facilities. Our strategy was to maximise the buildable area on the site by making a compact envelope of about 11,000sqm that left sufficient site area for further development of a similar size in the future. As part of this approach the cinema is suspended in the space, leaving the entire ground floor free for temporary exhibits.

The visitor experience

Because science can be both marvellous and surprising, we sought to create a design which amazes and engenders a mood of heightened expectation, and an experience of theatre in which the drama is the building and its contents. The building’s deep blue interior contrasts strongly with the Victorian buildings that make up the rest of the Science Museum and evokes a sense of mystery, hinting at the infinite possibilities of science.

Conference building and future expansion

Along the frontage facing Queen’s Gate, in a very sensitive conservation area, we designed a separate conference building (the Wellcome Wolfson Building). This screens the space reserved for the Museum’s future expansion.

  • Client
    National Museum of Science and Industry
  • Awards
    Lighting Design Award, 2002
    Civic Trust Award, 2002
    Structural Steel Design Award, 2001
    Celebrating Construction Achievement Regional Award for Greater London, 2000
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Photos: Peter Durant