A museum in a piece of Brunel’s heritage
Project: Brunel Museum Reinvented
Location: London, UK
Client: The Brunel Museum
Project Team: Phase 1 - Price & Myers, Infrastructure Design Studio, Buro Happold, Mitchinson Macken, MLM, Transport Planning Associates, HK Safety Services, Cobalt Green, Iron Designs. Phase 2 - Purcell, Engenuiti, Atelier Ten, Stevenson Varning, Transport Planning Associates, Applied Ecology, Adams Habermehl, Haydens, Redman Design, Access=Design, Huntley Cartwright, Fiona King, Eric Kentley, Fourth Street, Assent, AVR London
Timescale: Phase 1 completed 2016, Phase 2 due to complete in 2025
Size: 120 m²

The Brunel Museum in Rotherhithe is located within Brunel’s Thames Tunnel, which is a Scheduled Ancient Monument and a live piece of TFL infrastructure. We have been working in collaboration with Grimshaw Architects, Purcell Conservation Architects and the museum since 2015 to create the key global location to understand the history of the three generations of Brunel.

We completed Phase 1 of the masterplan in 2016. This created inclusive access to the circular tunnel Sinking Shaft, with a high level viewing platform and stair to the lower level. This dramatically improved visitor access to the shaft as well as providing facilities for the museum’s program of performances. The new staircase and platform were conceived as a ‘ship in a bottle’ structure, inserted through the new door opening and containing all the services and requirements necessary to create a working public space, whilst retaining the powerful raw atmosphere of Brunel’s first structure.

Having assisted the museum with obtaining a significant grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund we are now completing Phase 2 of the masterplan. This will transform the rest of the site, creating education facilities to engage the local community and a dedicated archive and research centre for the museum’s incredible collection of original Brunel drawings.

Tate + Co soon came up with a design that satisfied both the museum’s and the site's constraints, then tenaciously and cheerfully got on with the project. An enjoyable process from start to finish. ”

Bryn Bird, Trustee, The Brunel Museum