Coniston are proud to announce that at the RICS Awards held on 13th May 2009, we were selected as runner-up in the Building Conservation Division. Coniston were chosen for their work on the £4,700,000 renovation and refurbishment project on Galleries 36-40 at The British Museum.
The project involved the extensive refurbishment of the Central Saloon (Gallery 36) and Galleries 37-40 including their roofs, which had been damaged by bombing during the Second World War. The project provided the opportunity to repair the building fabric and reinstate the designs of the neoclassical architect Sir Robert Smirke, who originally designed the Galleries for the Museum in 1847. A major element of structural work involved the switching of an elevated floor beam, which had to be developed and installed in a manner to avoid restricted access or possible closure to the entrance hall during the works.
Key to the success of the project was the conservation of the existing architecture, historic elements of the building fabric and to ensure the sustainability of the building in the future. In pursuit of respectful conservation and replicating the 1847 designs, new copper and lead roof coverings were installed as agreed by the British Museum and English Heritage.
The result is a lighter, brighter more accessible visitor space in which are exhibited artefacts not previously on display to the public. The completed project now houses the 'Time', 'Clocks and Watches' and 'Medieval' exhibits as well as orientation space for visitors.
"This project has been caried out to the highest of standards, as befits the principle depository of the nation's historical collections. Much of the work, though now hidden, presented considerable challenges and required innovative and carefully considered solutions. What is visible resembles Smirke's original designs, though incorporating modern systems and installations necessary for the preservation of the fragile collections, and giving improved public access".
Claudia Payne, LVO, MRSA (London Region Judge)