Earth Galleries, Natural History Museum

Pawson Williams Architects, London, 1996


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View of the RTZ atrium and two storey high escalator 

Nathan Willock (website)     Download Original

  • View of the RTZ atrium and two storey high escalator    
  • View from the entrance hall to the RTZ atrium    
  • The new internal waiting area     
  • Internal view of remodelled staircase showing portions of the old balustrade    
  • A toxodon and starunia rhino adorn the entance hall    
  • Internal view of foyer and gallery detail    
  • Detail of foyer desk    
  • Entrance to Earth Treasury gallery    
  • Dark surfaces and minimalist detailing in the Earth    
  • Ground floor plan    
  • Long section through RTZ atrium and galleries    
  • Cross section through RTZ atrium & galleries    
  • Foyer & gallery perspective    
  • Earth Treasury gallery floor plan    

Transformation of former Geology Museum in South Kensington into the Natural History Museum's Earth Galleries

The existing 1933 building has been completely remodeled and restored.

The renovation has created a double height entrance foyer creating an entry sequence that provides indoor queuing space and views through to the galleries. Stone floors give way to an ornate marble starburst pattern and the walls are finished in terracotta Armourcoat or stark white render
A 12m-high escalator rises through the central atrium, with its black slate clad walls, to the top floors allowing visitors to explore the gallery from the top floor down. The architecture of the surrounding galleries has been deliberately unobtrusive to provide a blank canvas for exhibition designers.

A sensor-controlled micro-climate has been installed with a combination of chilled beams and radiant-heating panels.


  • Completed: 1996
  • Sector: Arts and culture
  • Total cost: £12M
  • Address: Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London, SW7 5BD, United Kingdom

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