Ashmolean Museum Extension, Oxford, UK

Rick Mather
Date Built
Opened 7 November 2009
Beaumont Street
When you approach Oxford's Ashmolean Museum from Beaumont Street you see the spectacular Greek Revival building shown above that was erected in 1845 to a design by Charles Robert Cockerell.  What you cannot see at this point is the wonderful extension added behind the 19th century building in 2009 to a design this time by the American architect Rick Mather.  The addition and refurbishment of the existing building was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Lord Sainsbury.

If you look down the narrow lane behind the Sackler Library you can just glimpse the new extension.

Rick Mather's website explains that, "... The new scheme involves the removal of the poor existing Victorian buildings behind the Cockerell building-built to house a rapidly growing collection under Evans, and later piecemeal accretions. These combined to give a very confusing route for the museum visitor.

The new building has six storeys, with a floor area of 9000m² (29,500 sq.ft), 4000m² (13,100 sq.ft) of which provides 100 per cent more display space. In addition to the new display space a new entrance from St Giles, and an Education Centre, Conservation studios and loading bay have also been created. The new museum space is built to modern standards, using an environmentally aware and efficient servicing strategy."

Two staircase lightwells are naturally lit with large windows and roof lights. Natural light is filtered vertically through the building to the lower ground level via inter-connecting, double-height galleries.

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