West Smithfield market buildings redevelopment, Museum of London architecture renewal, MOL Barbican Centre

West Smithfield market buildings redevelopment, London

Redevelopment Architects: Stanton Williams and Asif Khan

post updated 12 February 2024

Museum of London formally appoints Sir Robert McAlpine as Construction Management Company on Smithfield project

A concept image of the London Museum from above:
West Smithfield London Museum site
photo © Secchi Smith

post updated 23 + 10 May 2023

Sir Robert McAlpine Appointed on Smithfield Site

10th of May 2023 – Museum of London today announces that contracts have been signed and Sir Robert McAlpine has been formally appointed as Construction Manager on the museum’s new Smithfield site, due to open in 2026.

The appointment of Sir Robert McAlpine will bring technical expertise and experience to the building of one of the largest cultural infrastructure projects in Europe and they will play a key role in the next phase of the construction of a world class museum.

Smithfield London building renewal:
Smithfield London building renewal

Photos courtesy of Stanton Williams, © Will Scott, unless stated otherwise

The announcement comes as the museum has completed the first phase of restoration work on the external facades of the almost 150-year-old General Market; a major milestone in construction and part of a plan to conserve the building’s historic fabric, originally designed by Sir Horace Jones.

Smithfield London building renewal

Meanwhile internal works to the General Market are progressing, preparing it for future use through the excavation of service trenches in the site’s former Salt Stores and Vaults and formation of the new floor level. A stunning 10,000m2 of Victorian brickwork in the basement has also been cleaned and restored to its former glory.

Work has now begun to build an impressive layered concrete staircase in the General Market to connect the social spaces of Our Time (dedicated to displays exploring London in living memory) with the spectacular underground spaces of Past Time. This area, comprising of the museum’s permanent galleries, will take visitors on an extraordinary journey through London’s past, using theatrical, sensory and interactive displays to bring the museum’s internationally important collections to life.

Smithfield London building renewal

The museum will reopen at Smithfield under a new name – The London Museum. The new home will enable the museum to welcome millions more visitors and every London schoolchild through its doors. The museum will open early and close late to reflect London’s 24-hour character, enabling visitors to enjoy more of The London Collection than ever before. The ground floor level will maintain the building’s marketplace feel, giving Londoners a new civic space to explore the capital’s story.

Smithfield London building renewal

This appointment will be key in helping the museum to achieve its significant sustainability goals, leading the way in sustainable design. Around 70% of the structure of the existing buildings will be retained, with operational carbon reduced through smart technologies that reduce energy requirements and monitor and improve performance over time, and with more than 95% of construction waste diverted from landfill. Sir Robert McAlpine will also work in partnership with the museum on shared social value goals, helping the museum deliver its Equality, Diversity and Inclusion objectives while also creating social value for Londoners by supporting local businesses and partners, economic growth and employment.

Smithfield London building renewal

Alec Shaw, Director of New Museum Project and Estate, said: “The New London Museum project is one of the most ambitious and complex cultural projects in Europe and one which will be the best city museum in the world once it is completed.

“We are delighted to announce the appointment of Sir Robert McAlpine to carry out the next phase in this hugely ambitious programme for a new, modern museum which reaches the highest standards of sustainability in both build and operation.

“Their expertise and passion for the project will prove invaluable in realising our vision for a museum which is not only world class but also maintains the unique character of the historic buildings in which it will be housed.”

Smithfield London building renewal

Grant Findlay, Executive Managing Director, Buildings, Sir Robert McAlpine, said: “We are delighted to be appointed to this project, which is so central to London’s architecture and culture. Our team of experts have long-standing experience of working on iconic landmark buildings. We also share Museum of London’s ambitions for achieving high sustainability targets and creating social value that benefits local communities. We look forward to bringing their vision to life, so visitors and Londoners are able to discover more of our capital’s diverse history.”

The Museum was recently granted planning permission, covering both the General Market and Poultry Market where the new museum will be based, and a suite of buildings known as The Annexe, which includes the Fish Market, Red House and Engine House. A Listed Building Consent application for the Grade II-listed Poultry Market has also been secured.

In preparation for its move to Smithfield, the museum closed at London Wall in December 2022. The Museum of London Docklands remains open.

Smithfield London building renewal

Museum of London

The Museum of London tells the ever-changing story of this great world city and its people, from 450,000 BC to the present day. Our galleries, exhibitions, displays and activities seek to inspire a passion for London and provide a sense of the vibrancy that makes the city such a unique place.

A fixture on London’s cultural scene since first opening in 1976, the museum is moving house. It closed its doors at London Wall in December 2022 in preparation for its relocation to a new home at Smithfield, where it will occupy historic market buildings and open up to millions more visitors. The new museum will reopen to the public in 2026 under a new name: The London Museum.

The Museum of London Docklands, located at West India Quay in east London, remains open 7 days a week, from 10am-5pm and is FREE to all. You can also explore the Museum of London with collections online – home to 90,000 objects with more being added regularly. www.museumoflondon.org.uk.

Sir Robert McAlpine

Sir Robert McAlpine is a family-owned building and infrastructure company operating across the UK. We have been proudly building Britain’s future heritage since 1869.

We are honoured to have worked on some of the country’s most iconic buildings and projects.

The values at the heart of our operations include a commitment to the highest standards of safety, quality, engineering excellence, sustainability, and a steadfast focus on the needs and aspirations of our clients.

We champion equality and welcome a diversity of talent to our inclusive family culture.

Working in partnership with our clients, we aim to make a positive impact on the communities and the environment in which we operate, as we construct a better world for future generations.

Previously on e-architect:

26 Jan 2017

Museum of London Funding

Museum of London in West Smithfield Funding

The Museum of London’s plan to move to Smithfield market has moved a step closer thanks to a funding boost.

West Smithfield Design Competition Proposals

West Smithfield Design Competition

The City of London Corporation and mayor of London have pledged a total of £180m towards the £250m project, report the BBC.

The museum first announced its plan to move from its current location last year, citing a lack of space at its Barbican site.

A planning application will be made in 2018 and the museum hopes to open its new home to the public in 2022.

West Smithfield Design Competition Proposals

28 July 2016

Museum of London West Smithfield Design Competition Winners

Stanton Williams and Asif Khan win Museum of London West Smithfield International Design Competition

Museum of London West Smithfield Design Competition

Museum of London West Smithfield International Design Competition Images

The shortlisted teams are (in alphabetical order):

• BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group (DK) with HawkinsBrown (UK)
• Caruso St John Architects (UK)
• Diener & Diener Architekten (CH) with Sergison Bates Architects (UK)
• Lacaton & Vassal Architectes (FR) with Pernilla Ohrstedt Studio (UK)
• Stanton Williams (UK) with Asif Khan (UK)
• studio Milou architecture (FR) with RL& Associés (FR) and Axis Architects (UK)

West Smithfield Design Competition

Museum of London West Smithfield International Design Competition Shortlist

12 Mar ; 11 Feb 2016

Museum of London West Smithfield International Design Competition

Deadline for Expressions of Interest 14:00 GMT Tuesday, March 15 2016

Museum of London appoints Malcolm Reading Consultants to run West Smithfield International Design Competition

West Smithfield Design Competition

Museum of London West Smithfield Design Competition News – previous information

Website: Museum of London

Smithfield Market

Museum of London Building
Museum of London
MOL photo © Edmund Sumner
Museum of London Building

Smithfield Buildings
Smithfield Market

Website: Smithfield, London

Location: West Smithfield, London, England, UK

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