The National Maritime Museum, now part of the Royal Museums Greenwich, contains the world’s largest maritime collection, housed in historic buildings at the centre of the UNESCO Maritime Greenwich World Heritage Site.
The project encompasses the creation of a new wing for the National Maritime Museum, named the Sammy Ofer Wing – after the philanthropist Sammy Ofer, who has generously funded the project. The aim has been to open-up and reveal for everyone the fascinating stories of people and the sea. The Museum works to illustrate for everyone the importance of the sea, ships, time and the stars and their relationships to our shared cultural histories. The Museum welcomes over 2 million visitors a year and is a major centre of education and research.
The main idea of the extension has been to ensure minimal interventions in this sensitive historic site and yet give the museum a new, distinctive main entrance with additional exhibition space, as well as a new café, restaurant, research library and archives that meet the particular demands for storage of historical documents.
The design solution creates a new main entrance emerging from the terrain. Most of the new building, however, is located underground. The roof of the new wing is a green, public landscaped terrace overlooking the Park, accessed at all levels by gentle ramps, which merge with the adjacent public realm and park. The extension has a contemporary aesthetic, but is inspired by the Baroque buildings’ rhythmic sequence of windows, and the profile of the new extension has been kept low to allow the Victorian facade of the existing south west wing of the museum to be appreciated as a backdrop to the striking new building.
Teva Hesse of 4D Studio Architects was the lead designer for the project which was undertaken while he was the head of C. F. Møller’s London branch.
“It was a great honour to design the new Sammy Ofer Wing within the sensitive and exceptional setting of Maritime Greenwich. In a limited space the project provides a great range of public amenities, museum facilities and visitor experiences. Most importantly, the architecture and landscape merge into a composition that integrates with the grade-I listed National Maritime Museum with Greenwich Park.”