The new museum building
Our state-of the-art new museum has been designed to excite visitors from the moment they see the building. In designing the museum the architects, Hulme Upright Manning, had a very real challenge. That was how to create a stunning new structure that complements, but stands out from, the factory complex to which it is attached. The Barlaston factory, designed by Keith Murray and CS White, was a modernist triumph that used contemporary materials and technology. To ensure empathy between original and modern architecture the Trust referred directly to plans produced by Murray and White for features contemporary with their initial ideas for the factory façade.
Here lead architect, Lee Grady, talks about the design concept Hulme Upright Manning employed...
The concept behind the design was to provide visitors with the experience of being within the heart of a working factory. We achieved this by openly articulating the structural elements that are fundamental to convey an industrial environment. We chose to do this using contemporary detailing and materials such as composite aluminium cladding, glass and steel, whilst echoing more traditional types in the use of feature curved brickwork, in particular emulating a bottle kiln which acts as a focal point and punctuates the main entrance.
The general curvature of the roof responds as a contrast to the more traditional surrounding buildings. The first perspective that visitors will experience as they approach either by vehicle or using the surrounding pedestrian walkways is the stair tower towards the museum's gable.
The external plaza area extends from the existing Wedgwood Visitor Centre and uses similar materials albeit expressed in different manner. Paving arrays out from the ‘bottle kiln' subtly drawing visitors towards the museum entrance, as well as creating additional perspective with the punctuated trees and green spaces, engaging them with the immediate environment by introducing seating areas to enhance interaction.
NOW WE CAN CALL OURSELVES THE AWARD-WINNING WEDGWOOD MUSEUM
Mansell, the firm responsible for the construction of the fantastic new building, has won the Built in Quality Award 2008 for a public building (over £1 million). Steve Oldacre, Mansell's divisional manager - who oversaw much of the building here at Barlaston, commented that when they were announced as the winners he was totally delighted especially as it was unexpected.