Intriguing chunk of gigantic stone pier to spend summer in front of Museum of London

By Ben Miller | 10 April 2014

Visiting the Museum of London this summer? Look out for an imagined pier designed to tempt the public in

A mock-up image of people standing around a circular structure outside of a museum
The exterior concept of Gruppe's House of Muses, which will welcome visitors to the Museum of London this summer© Courtesy Gruppe
A temporary, playful pier, based on an imaginary structure linking the nearby St Alban tower to the Museum of London, will entice visitors to contemplate what they believe a museum should be outside the popular home of the history of the capital.

Gruppe, a design team based in London and Zurich, will create their House of Muses after winning a competition which attracted 70 entries. Formerly responsible for a cinema and theatre space inside King’s Cross commissioned by Richard Wentworth, their plywood structure is inspired by historic fragments from around London.

“Standing as a monolithic form in front of the museum's entrance, Gruppe's proposal appears like some fragment of a long-lost building – an intriguing chunk of a gigantic stone pier,” describes Oliver Wainwright, the architecture critic for the Guardian who was on the Architecture Foundation’s judging panel.

“Within, it opens up to provide a carefully crafted series of spaces where the public can take on the role of an architect and dream up what the future of the museum might be.

“The judges were impressed by Gruppe's highly poetic response to the specific City of London context with a project that plays the peculiarities of the site and celebrates its richly layered history.”

Nicholas Lobo Brennan, the Director of the design team, hopes Londoners will enjoy themselves at the House.

“We wanted to work with the history of the site as a way to address the architectural issues facing the Museum of London today,” he says.

"We recognise that museums are facing challenges regarding their status as monuments, as their role evolves to serve more varied functions, which we felt was important to make central to the project.

“We hope the House of Muses structure becomes part of the everyday life of the area over the course of the summer, as a place to sit, meet and discuss.”

The structure will open on June 6, coinciding with the London Festival of Architecture 2014.


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