Natural History Museum Design Competition Concept Strategies Revealed

The Natural History Museum today released images of the five concept strategies put forward by the shortlisted teams vying to win the design competition to reshape the Museum’s grounds and reinvigorate its public setting in the heart of London’s South Kensington.

The images will go on show at a public exhibition at the Museum in London from today, as well as being available digitally through the dedicated microsite:

The design competition seeks the best team for this project to create an innovative exterior setting that matches Alfred Waterhouse’s Grade I listed building and the award-winning Darwin Centre for architectural excellence, whilst also improving access and engaging visitors.  

The teams of architects, landscape architects and other consultants, whose works are being shown at the exhibition, will present their schemes to the competition Jury on 13th March 2014.

The Jury comprises:

Ian Henderson CBE (Chair) – Deputy Chairman of Capco (Capital & Counties Properties plc) and Chair of Natural History Museum Estates and Building Advisory Committee

Abbas Barkhordar – Councillor for the Brompton Ward

Michael Portillo – Journalist, Broadcaster and former Cabinet Minister

Graham Morrison – Partner, Allies and Morrison 

Sophie Andreae – Former Head of London Division of English Heritage and Chairperson of the Brompton Association

Dr Derek Langslow CBE – Former Chief Executive of English Nature and Natural History Museum Trustee

Professor Ian Owens – Director of Science at the Natural History Museum

Kevin Rellis – Head of Estates at the Natural History Museum

Dr Justin Morris – Director of Public Engagement at the Natural History Museum

Malcolm Reading (Adviser) – Chairman, Malcolm Reading Consultants 

Dr Michael Dixon, Director of the Natural History Museum says:

The quality and creativity of the concepts gives great insight into the design philosophy of each team and takes us one step closer to appointing the right candidate. We look forward to working together with the winning team to develop a design that meets a complex series of needs and preserves the visual excellence of our buildings.

Malcolm Reading, Architect and competition organiser comments:

For anyone interested in design, this project is fascinating because it fuses architecture with landscape and addresses a landmark site that is admired across the world. The submissions are intriguing and the shortlisted teams brim with talented designers who are determined to showcase the Museum like never before.

The winning team is expected to be announced by the Museum in April 2014. The shortlisted teams, comprising architects in collaboration with landscape architects and other sub-consultants (not listed here), were announced in November 2013 and include: 

BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group) with Martha Schwartz Partners

Grant Associates with Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios

Niall McLaughlin Architects with Kim Wilkie

Land Use Consultants (LUC) with Design Engine

Stanton Williams Architects with Bradley-Hole Schoenaich Landscape Architects

Under EU procurement rules the teams’ concepts can only be revealed anonymously to the public until the winner is selected and announced by the Museum.  However, sharp-eyed design experts may enjoy a spot of detective work in speculating which team is behind each proposal.

The design boards will be on show at the Museum from 27th February to 11th March 2014. Comments can be provided on comment cards at the exhibition or via email to

Attracting over five million visitors annually, the Natural History Museum is one of the UK’s top visitor attractions and known globally as a leader in scientific research, housing over 80 million specimens from around the world. 

One of the pre-eminent institutions located within the Exhibition Road Cultural Quarter in South Kensington, the recent transformation of this area has provided further impetus to promote a renewal of the Museum’s own civic realm.

For media enquiries and further information on the project, please contact Jacqui Savaker on +44 (0)20 7831 2998 or via email at

For information relating to the Natural History Museum, please contact The Natural History Museum Press Office on +44 (0)20 7942 5654 or +44 (0) 7799 690 151 or via email at

Posted by Malcolm.Reading on March 3, 2014 - 3:28am