Forming the centrepiece of a new Visitor Welcome that the museum will create as part of the Forging Ahead project, the new visitor centre will allow the Black Country Living Museum (BCLM) to create a physical link between the museum and nearby attractions including Dudley Zoo, Castle and Canal Trust.
BCLM say the visitor centre will house an introductory exhibition and substantial food, drink and retail outlets, enabling the Museum’s current entrance building to be repurposed as a dedicated Learning Centre.
Napier Clarke Architects have been appointed from a competitive European-wide tender process which saw 24 architectural practices enter the design competition. They will be working alongside services engineer BWB Consulting, structural engineer Donald McIntyre Design and landscape architect Red Kite Network to develop their design proposals with the Museum.
“The whole selection panel was very impressed with the highly experienced and enthusiastic team Napier Clarke Architects had brought together on their pitch; they really seemed to understand what we are trying to achieve,” said Andrew Lovett, Chief Executive at BCLM. “We hope a new contemporary Visitor Centre will provide a visually fascinating juxtaposition to the historic area of the Museum’s site and create an excellent welcoming experience for our visitors.”
Work has now begun on refining and developing the initial design proposals for the new visitor centre and exploring opportunities for repurposing the Museum’s current entrance building as a dedicated Learning Centre. Once designs have been developed further they will be subject to a planning application, which it is hoped will be made in November.