Ashmolean wins Building Project of the Year at Building Awards 2010
The renovation of Oxford University’s Ashmolean Museum has been named as project of the year at the an-nual Building Awards ceremony. As the oldest public museum in the UK, housing a unique collection of art and antiquities, the Ashmolean has for the last few years, been the focal point of one of the most complex yet successful museum expansion projects of recent years. Faced with the need to double the display space and provide more accessible and improved environmental conditions for its extensive collections, the exten-sion of the Grade I listed museum with a new six storey building on a tightly confined site in Oxford's historic city centre has been praised as one of the most outstanding museum buildings of the 21st Century.
Entered into the awards by project managers Mace and Rick Mather Architects the project beat off competion from prestigious projects such as Ropemaker Place in London. Its success lies in the sheer scale of the project which involved flattening half of the existing Ashmolean and attaching a six-storey extension to the 19th-century, grade I-listed Cockerell building, doubling the museum's capacity at a stroke. 50,000 priceless artefacts had to be relocated to an off site storage facility before demolition stages followed by the integration of 430 custom designed display cases into the museum for the reinstallation of these artefacts. This demanded close collaboration of the multi-disciplinary design team with the exhibition designers as well as Ashmolean's own graphic and display team. The galleries were handed over in multiple phases to facilitate the commencement of the object reinstallation programme at the earliest possible date.
The Ashmolean is a striking landmark building announcing its presence, purpose and inclusivity to the public and achieving the highest standards in gallery and exhibition environments through considered and sustain-able building design. Reopened in November 2009, the museum has met with worldwide critical acclaim with more than 20,000 people walking through its doors on the first weekend.