The British Museum Friday unveiled its new World Conservation and Exhibitions Center, a 135-million-pound(about 230 million U.S. dollars) development at the museum's central London site, one of the largest redevelopment projects in the Museum's 260-year history.
The Center was designed by Rogers Stirk Harbour and Partners (RSHP), which also designed the Shanghai Pudong Airport Terminal 2 building in China.
In addition to the new public exhibitions gallery, the Center provides laboratories and studios, stores for the collection, as well as facilities to support an extensive British and international loan program.
British Museum director Neil MacGregor, said, "The World Conservation and Exhibitions Center is an important, and beautiful, addition to Bloomsbury. Rogers, Stirk, Harbour and Partners have designed and delivered a wonderfully flexible building which provides the Museum with the facilities it needs to achieve our future ambitions."
The building consists of five pavilions, one of which is buried below ground, in a contemporary design that is intended to complement the British Museum's existing architecture, connecting to the historic building while maintaining its own identity.
The kiln-formed glass and Portland stone used on the pavilions are inspired by the materials of the existing buildings.
The mass and height of the pavilions are designed to create a visual transition from the grand scale of the main museum to the more domestic proportions of the predominantly 18th century properties in neighboring streets.
Graham Stirk, lead architect and Senior Partner, Rogers Stirk Harbour and Partners, said, "The need for versatility, as well as sensitivity to the historical context, underpinned our thinking throughout the design process. We are very proud of the building, which offers a flexible series of spaces that support the wide range of activities currently undertaken by the British Museum and can adapt to changing requirements over time."