Following a number of detailed studies culminating in an Options Appraisal, the decision was taken by the museum’s Board to relocate the museum to West Smithfield, enabling it to meet the needs of a 21st century audience and giving it a sustainable future.
The move will significantly contribute to the regeneration of the Smithfield area, which is also due to benefit from Crossrail. It will help save an important group of historic buildings with great significance for London. Working closely with the City of London Corporation and Greater London Authority, the Museum of London, together with its partners the Barbican Art Centre, Guildhall School of Music & Drama and the London Symphony Orchestra, will contribute to the City of London’s overall goal of creating a world-class Cultural Hub.
The project’s key objectives are:
- Conceive a museum with a charismatic identity – combining historic Smithfield and new 21st century elements to create vital and memorable architecture – reimagining this London landmark.
- Incorporate the ‘found’ heritage elements to create atmosphere and presence, foreground craft and detail, and acknowledge the historic and civic significance of both Smithfield and adjacent conservation areas.
- Create contemporary interventions and additions where appropriate which are exemplary and visually stunning.
- Reflect the site’s evolution from a place of physical exchange to a culture and knowledge exchange.
- Create a museum that will resonate with Londoners and become a welcoming space for discussion and debate.
- Address new ways of engaging digitally-minded visitors and representing London as the world’s most inventive, creative capital.
- Connect the new museum with Smithfield’s unique sense of place, visitor amenities and vibrant local atmosphere and maximise the economic impetus of the forthcoming Farringdon Crossrail interchange.
- Raise the profile of the Museum of London nationally and internationally.
Practically, the Museum of London wishes to:
- Ensure the museum can comfortably and efficiently service large visitor numbers (over 2.25 million visits per year).
- Provide visitors with an enjoyable experience in the immediate local area with access to supporting amenities.
- Reduce operating costs by improving the building’s operational efficiency and sustainability, with a target of the project achieving a BREEAM Excellent rating.
- Increase income generation and visitor dwell time through enhanced retail, catering and event facilities.
- Ensure the experience of visiting and navigating the museum is equal for all.
- Ensure appropriate technical, environmental and security requirements are met so that the new museum meets Government Indemnity Standards.