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Holburne Museum, Bath, United Kingdom

Friday 13 May 2011

(Hol)burne again

Holburne Museum by Eric Parry Architects in Bath, United Kingdom
All images credit: Helene Binet 
Holburne Museum by Eric Parry Architects in Bath, United Kingdom Holburne Museum by Eric Parry Architects in Bath, United Kingdom Holburne Museum by Eric Parry Architects in Bath, United Kingdom Holburne Museum by Eric Parry Architects in Bath, United Kingdom
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No. of Comments: 4

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27/05/11 Jay, Bath
I love cutting edge contemporary architecture and design, especially in the field of architecture, and wholeheartedly believe that period and contemporary can be aesthetically blended., and create a stimulating talking point.

This design functions well from the interior as a display space - however it increases the Holburne Museum's ability to display only 60 % additional artefacts from this massive collection. Compared to it's budgetary costs, it seems a disproportionate amount of funding for very little gain, in my opinion.

Moreover, this project is poorly designed from the exterior elevation. Prior to the Holburnes development of the site, many walkers and visitors to Sydney Gardens at the rear had a wonderful view of the rear of the fabulous original georgian building. Now? - there is an extended view as you descend the wide avenue, of what might be described as not unlike a Victorian water tower, and looking unkempt and 'rusty' at that, such is the choice of 'mottled' green/brown of the 'special' ceramic tiles.
It also appears to be built slightly wrong. I fully appreciate asymmetrical design, but am at a loss, and very irritated by, the 'slight asymmetry' ie it just looks wrong. When most of the vertical 'drainpipes' are in pairs, there is one elevation which only has one vertical - it really does offend the discerning eye.
In short?

Hideous... utterly hideous, and the museum directors, architects, Bath residents and council, should hang their heads in shame... a very poor days work.. yet we are encouraged to suspend reality, and believe it is in some way 'great architecture', purely on the basis of their oft-repeated mantra. However, there are still enough people around to know poor design when they see it and I, for one, will not be swallowing this propaganda. I also do not feel this opinion will be improved over a period of time either.
I truly believe someone has been conned - 'emperor's clothes' come to mind...
Click for more ...
18/05/11 Eileen, Penang
A smack in the face of an elegant friend!!!!
17/05/11 Robert, DC
The addition is a beautiful building and the original is also a beautiful building but the two do not work well together. The new addition overwhelms the smaller scale details of the original with it's dark steel and glass.
14/05/11 Citizen West, Los Angeles
I I just viewed this eyesore. It is totally at odds with the building it extends. In a word, ghastly.

Eric Parry Architects' modern extension to 18th century museum opens tomorrow 

Tomorrow morning, the artist behind a wealth of pop artwork including the sleeves for iconic albums such as The Beatles’ Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and Oasis’ Stop the Clocks Sir Peter Blake will open the doors to a crystalline extension to one of Bath’s most impressive 18th century buildings.

Since its construction in 1796, the stunning Georgian building has been utilised as a hotel, museum and gallery, and is set in a rambling 18th century Pleasure Garden, Sydney Gardens. In 1913, the Holburne Museum was taken on by architect, landscape gardener and writer Sir Reginald Theodore Blomfield, who transformed it into a home for the substantial collection of paintings, silver, sculpture, furniture and porcelain owned by Sir William Holburne.

In 2002, Eric Parry Architects was invited to compose designs for a contemporary extension to the Grade I Listed property, and embarked upon a long journey to form a proposal that was at once fitting with the traditional heritage of both the Museum and the City of Bath, and contrasting enough to mark a new life for the historical building.

The result is a highly-glazed ceramic and glass composition which affords scenic views across the adjoining gardens and enables a flood of natural light to illuminate the precious collection within. A key constituent of the build was to reconnect the existing volume with the thriving flora that surrounds it at ground level, inspiring Eric Parry Architects to form a virtuously windowless unit above, with a transparent façade below, in order to ‘exploit and respond to’ the gardens at the rear of the site and the classical architecture of Great Pulteney Street at the front.

As such, the extension has been encased in a mottled ceramic material as a deliberate contrast to the original façade. On the first floor, the solid ceramic façade steps back behind the glass then steps away completely below, creating a subtle play on shadow and reflection.

Inside, the majestic staircase has been repositioned to stay in line with current health and safety requirements and simplify internal way-finding. A café on the ground floor inspires an evolving relationship between the Museum’s visitors and Sydney Gardens, with the laminated low iron glass veil inserted free of complex jointing to create apparent lightness.

Eric Parry Architects explains: “The largest plan area is given to the new top floor gallery, the first floor and mezzanine are drawn in by 800mm and to dissolve the apparent structure at ground floor level two smaller piers are offset from the corner at three corners, the fourth being a stabilising fin wall that also carries a services riser and a new lift.”

Key Facts

Status Completed
Value 0(m€)
Eric Parry Architects

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