Project designed by Stanton Williams, Asif Khan and Julian Harrap Architects
The budget for the project to convert derelict market buildings into a new home for the Museum of London has more than doubled since it was announced three years ago.
The museum released new images and an updated budget this morning for what it says is one of the largest cultural projects taking place anywhere in Europe.
The authorities now anticipate the scheme, designed by Stanton Williams, Asif Khan and Julian Harrap Architects, will cost £332m.
“This responds to the detailed studies on the historic buildings, which date back to the 19th century, and the increased investment needed to bring them back into use, as well as the design solutions required to adapt them into a world-class museum,” the museum said in a statement.
The museum has to move from its current Powell & Moya building beside the Barbican so it can be demolished to make way for a concert hall designed by Diller Scofidio & Renfro.
The museum held an international design competition to find an architect to convert some derelict buildings at the nearby Smithfield General Market into its new home. That was in 2016 when the budget was £150m.
Less than a year later the budget had grown to £250m, with the mayor of London and the City of London Corporation jointly pledging to bankroll £180m of that. The City has since increased its donation and, with other contributions, it now has £44m left to raise.
The museum argued the budget had not doubled, with a spokesman saying: “The original estimate for the project during the architectural competition was £250m. The budget has now increased because, a) they are now looking at taking more space and b) recent surveys have found that the West Smithfield buildings are in a worse state of disrepair than they originally anticipated and a significant amount of the project cost will be spent on bringing the buildings back into use.”
Museum director Sharon Ament said the aim was to submit a planning application by the end of this year, with the opening expected in 2024.
She added: “The new Museum of London will transform what a museum should be as we will become a shared space in the middle of it all, in the middle of London and in the middle of ideas and our shared history.
“As people will see from our latest design concepts, it will be a totally porous space available night and day to welcome all of London’s visitors. We’ll showcase the London Collection, our seven million objects, and tell the story of London and Londoners in some of the best examples of British architecture in the city.”
Paul Williams, principal director at Stanton Williams, said: “Working together as a team we – Stanton Williams and Asif Khan with Julian Harrap Architects – have been entrusted with one of the biggest projects of cultural reimagining in London – transforming the historically charged but derelict parts of the late 19th-century West Smithfield market into a living museum for the 21st century.
“In its new home at West Smithfield, the Museum of London will be an anchor for Culture Mile, a major initiative that will create a vibrant destination for culture and creativity at the heart of the city.”
A shortlist for the architect to design a giant subterranean 2,500sq m gallery was announced in May.
It features David Kohn, ZMMA, Casson Mann, Nissen Richards Studio, Atelier Brückner and Ralph Applebaum Associates. The winner is due to be announced in September.