Work has started on a sleek new £80,000 museum gallery at the tiny 18th century building where astronomy forefather William Herschel discovered Uranus 230 years ago.
© Hetreed Ross Architects
The Herschel Museum of Astronomy in Bath will use the Caroline Lucretia Gallery – named after Herschel’s sister Caroline, who was also an accomplished stargazer with a particular talent for spotting comets – to provide a modern display space at the popular independent centre.
“It is important that the new gallery complements Herschel’s workshop and the 18th century town garden,” said designers Hetreed Ross Architects, providing a succinct description of the enticing-sounding development.
“The garden side of the space is glazed from floor to ceiling, and overhanging eaves bordered with deciduous climbers providing summer shade.
“A flat roof light against the house wall provides daylight to the kitchen window and allows secure ventilation.
“The stone walls of kitchen and workshop form two sides of the gallery and the east wall is panelled for displays. The insulated and heated floor is finished in crisp limestone slabs.”
Funding bodies including the Garfield Weston Foundation and Bath and North East Somerset Heritage Services have backed the scheme, and organisers at the venue said their blueprint had been simple but ambitious.
“Our aim was to raise funding for a brand new single story extension to house our temporary exhibitions,” said curator Debbie James, who has battled to fund the new gallery since winning planning permission for it in 2008.
“We wanted a gallery that would combine the very best in exciting modern design with a real sympathy for the existing historic building.”
The project is expected to be completed in Spring 2011.