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Triple Competition Success for Niall McLaughlin Architects

Published: Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The London-based practice led by Irish architect Niall McLaughlin has won three major architectural design competitions in recent weeks, including the bid to redevelop the exterior grounds of the Natural History Museum with Kim Wilkie.

The Natural History Museum London

Niall McLaughlin Architects with Kim Wilkie have won the chance to re-develop the exterior grounds of the Natural History Museum in London. The team will work with the Museum to create an innovative setting that matches the visual excellence of the world famous Waterhouse building and Darwin Centre.

Organised by Malcolm Reading, the competition was launched in autumn 2013 and sought the best team to win the commission for the Civic Realm project, a key part of which was improving the visitor experience for the five million visitors the Museum welcomes a year. Niall McLaughlin Architects with Kim Wilkie were the unanimous choice of the jury, which included the journalist, broadcaster and former Cabinet Minister, Michael Portillo, Ian Henderson CBE, Deputy Chairman of CapCo and Chair of the NHM Estates and Building Advisory Committee, and Graham Morrison, Partner at Allies and Morrison. Jury Chair, Ian Henderson said: "The challenge was to find a team which would consider the changing nature of the Museum, a team who would think holistically, both spatially and intellectually, considering the Museum and the Grounds together. Niall McLaughlin Architects did this brilliantly.’

Niall McLaughlin said: ‘We are delighted to have won this significant commission, particularly given the high quality of the work by all of the shortlisted candidates. The Natural History Museum offers the opportunity for us to reflect upon the relationship between an important building and the natural landscape that surrounds it. We look forward to deepening our understanding of the natural world and thinking about how the public will access this knowledge in the future’

The four other teams who were shortlisted, included:
• BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group) with Martha Schwartz Partners
• Grant Associates with Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios
• Land Use Consultants (LUC) with Design Engine
• Stanton Williams Architects with Bradley-Hole Schoenaich Landscape Architects


Auckland Castle in County Durham

Niall McLaughlin Architects and Purcell have won the competition to transform Auckland Castle in County Durham into a national museum of religion and religious art. The former historic home of the bishops of Durham, the castle is considered to be the third most historically significant ecclesiastical complex in Europe, after the Vatican and Avignon. Auckland Castle was bought by businessman and philanthropist Jonathan Ruffer who aims to turn it into a major visitor attraction and heritage site in the North East.  The client hopes to receive funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund in support of the project and set up the Auckland Castle Trust to oversee the restoration and development of the castle and grounds. The central attraction will be the rare paintings by Spanish artist Francisco de Zurbarán, considered to be some of the most significant religious treasures in Europe and part of the castle’s history for more than 250 years.


Worcester College, Oxford

Niall McLaughlin Architects have been announced as winner of the competition to build a new theatre for Worcester College, Oxford. The scheme was picked from among a strong shortlist, including proposals by Hawkins/ Brown, Ian Ritchie and Purcell Architects. The competition brief was to design a 160-seat theatre, together with flexible studio space, seminar rooms and a small bar to be situated within the sensitive site of the Collegeʼs listed gardens. The scheme aims to improve the spaces between the old and new buildings of the College and resolve the relationship between these structures, the gardens and the network of small courts around the edge of the site.

Competition renders by Picture Plane


Categories: Architecture | Competitions

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