Plans for the new home of London’s premiere venue for contemporary design and architecture transforms a Kensington relic into an iconic building.
Last week, it was announced that the Design Museum will relocate to the former Commonwealth Institute building (which was shuttered in 2002) in Kensington, west of its current spot on the Thames. Leading the charge on the cool $80-million project is Pritzkter Prize–winner John Pawson.
The pièce de resistance will be the original parobolic copper roof – the only element not to face the demolition ball. Glazed entrances will lead visitors to an expansive foyer featuring a single staircase (Pawson has done away with the current obstructive staircases) that leads to a mezzanine and introduces the central void. It is set to offer a stunning view of the swooping roof, aided by the enlarged rectangular openings in the floor slabs cut out of each of the five floors. Gallery spaces, offices and educational facilities are now relegated to the building perimetre. The ground floor will be home to the main exhibiton space, a cafe, book store and design shop, while the permanent collection and restaurant are housed on the top floor, where the roof rises 16 metres.
The project is slated for completion in 2014.