Stanton Williams and Asif Khan get go-ahead for amended Smithfield proposals

MoL Planning_02_Proposed Aerial_(c) Secchi Smith_WEB

Source: Secchi Smith

Stanton Williams and Asif Khan’s Museum of London plans (2022)

City of London planners have given their backing to amended proposals for the Museum of London’s new home at West Smithfield.

Project architects Stanton Williams and Asif Khan originally received approval for the scheme to relocate the museum from its current Barbican base in June 2020. At that time the project came with a £337m price tag.

On Tuesday, the City’s planning applications sub-committee approved a package of minor alterations to the consented scheme, which will make Smithfield’s General Market and Poultry Market the museum’s new home.

The plans also cover a set of buildings known as the Annexe, which include the Fish Market, Red House and Engine House. Listed-building consent for the grade II Poultry Market has also been secured. 

MoL Planning_18

Source: Secchi Smith

The proposed Annex site at the new Museum of London

The latest approval includes minor reconfiguration of layouts, roof plant and minor alterations to the external appearance of the buildings.

Stanton Williams, Khan and conservation specialist Julian Harrap Architects won an international design competition for the new museum in 2016. Their proposal was hailed as “an outstanding example of London creativity” by judges.

They also praised the project team’s “innovative thinking, sensitivity to the heritage of the existing market buildings and understanding of the practicalities of creating a great museum experience”.

MoL Planning_04_Proposed West Poultry Ave Entrance_(c) Secchi Smith_WEB

Source: Secchi Smith

After Tuesday’s planning decision, Museum of London director Sharon Ament said that much of the historic fabric of the West Smithfield buildings would be preserved to create “cavernous and atmospheric” spaces both above and below ground.

She said the spaces would allow the museum to showcase more of its collection and be capable of hosting a broader range of displays, exhibitions, learning activity and events.

“I’m delighted that the new museum has been awarded planning permission. This is a momentous point, and I’d like to thank the whole team who made it possible,” she said.

MoL Planning_10_Proposed General Market Stair_(c) Stanton Williams WEB

Source: Stanton Williams

“One thing I’m particularly proud of is the project’s sustainability ambitions, which I hope will be an exemplar for others in the field going into the future.

“We will lead by example by bringing these historic buildings back into use, preserving 70% of the fabric overall, and reducing operational carbon through connecting to Citigen and the use of smart technologies.”

MoL Planning_01_Site Model_(c) Stale Eriksen WEB

Source: Stale Eriksen

Site model for the new Museum of London at West Smithfield

Planning applications sub-committee chair Shravan Joshi said the new museum would be an “exceptional attraction” that would bring historic buildings in Smithfield back to life open them up to new audiences.

The Museum of London’s current brutalist home, designed by Powell & Moya and completed in 1976, is due to close its doors for the final time next month.

It is currently subject to a five-year Certificate of Immunity from Listing that was issued in 2019, however plans to replace the building with a Diller Scofidio & Renfro-designed concert hall foundered and were formally scrapped in 2021.