In 1996, Ian Ritchie Architects won the competition to design the new Rotunda History Centre extension to the Museum of London, on London Wall in the City.
The architectural objectives are to create an outstanding addition to the museum which at the same time makes access easier and gives the museum more public identity.
The concept is based upon the building as a display case, in the form of a suspended vertical glass cylinder above a new arrival disc and temporary exhibition gallery. Within the cylinder are spaces, sometimes opaque, sometimes transparent which are compositions of enclosures and light voids to meet the Museum’s special programme requirements.
The existing entrance to the museum will be remodelled to provide a focus for the three parts of the new museum – the existing galleries, the rotunda history centre and the temporary exhibition/hospitality gallery.
The new arrival disc and adjacent deck area will be landscaped, as will the roof of the cylinder. The latter will serve as an open viewing area to the World City Gallery and afford spectacular views of London.
Solar control of the low-iron glass cylinder will be achieved by a rotating solar perforated metal screen. It serves to filter light into the central space, yet allows views downwards to the outside, and views up and into the spaces from the pavement.
The structure has been designed to allow for future change, both of exhibitions within the spaces as well as the addition of a further two floors within the cylinder.
The new extension terminates with a steel and glass “spire”, marking the Museum of London upon the City skyline.
The project was suspended when the National Lottery Charities Board and Millennium commission both considered too many grants had already been made to London based applicants.