WCEC, British Museum

Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, London, 2014


Subscribe now to instantly view this image

Subscribe to the Architects’ Journal (AJ) for instant access to the AJ Buildings Library, an online database of nearly 2,000 exemplar buildings in photographs, plans, elevations and details.

Already a subscriber? Sign in

View of WCEC on the west corner of the British Museum 

Paul Raftery (website)     Download Original

  • View of WCEC on the west corner of the British Museum    
  • View of WCEC from Malet Street Gardens to the north    
  • View of British Museum from the north with WCEC to the west    
  • North facade of WCEC    
  • View of WCEC from west down Montague Place    
  • Bridge to original building in east tower through converted window    
  • The Sainsbury Exhibitions Gallery at WCEC    
  • The glass-roofed atrium at WCEC    
  • Labs and studios at WCEC    
  • Main level conservation studio at WCEC    
  • Balconies encircling atrium at WCEC    
  • Alignment of kiln-fired glass planks and open-textured Portland-stone glass cladding at WCEC    
  • A freestanding staircase at WCEC    
  • Extensive below-ground storage space at WCEC    
  • Graham Stirk, WCEC lead architect and Partner at RSHP    
  • The facades of WCEC    
  • Site plan    
  • Level 02 plan    
  • Level 06 plan    
  • Level 06A plan    
  • Cross section    
  • South sectional elevation    
  • Montague place north elevation    
  • 1-500 scale model of WCEC from northwest_image credit RSHP    
  • Stair typical four flight assembly    
  • Core typical level diagram    

Expansion to the British Museum containing a temporary exhibition space and conservation centre

The extension, named the World Conservation and Exhibitions Centre, is located at the north-west corner of the museum's Bloomsbury site.

Along with a temporary exhibition space the scheme includes state-of-the-art laboratories and studios, stores for the collection, and facilities to support its loan programme. The facilities are housed infour linked stone and glass pavilions – each of four storeys above basement level – connectied to the main Museum and designed to optimise daylight reaching the existing North Range and King Edward VII buildings.

The building's functions are arranged vertically with the Collections Storage Facility located below ground where the heavy floor loading can easily b
ccommodated and where the most stable environmental conditions can be found. Above this sits the logistics hub that links easily into the logistic routes of the existing museum. The Special Exhibitions Gallery has been located to provide level access from the Great Court with the conservation studios and offices above in order to provide good quality daylight for conservation work.

Each pavilion has three stories of space for storage with a 'fifth pavilion' that contains scientific research facilities also submerged below ground to minimise the impact of vibration and allow close control of environmental conditions.


  • Begun: Dec 2010
  • Completed: Jul 2014
  • Floor area: 18,000m2
  • Sector: Arts and culture
  • Total cost: £135M
  • Procurement: Construction management
  • Address: World Conservation and Exhibitions Centre, British Museum, Great Russell Street, London, WC1B 3DG, United Kingdom

Professional Team