Atkins to design Plymouth’s new History Centre

Atkins has been appointed to design a new £21m history centre in Plymouth.

The project – which has already received a development grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and is earmarked to receive £12.8m in total – will see Plymouth’s existing museum refurbished and expanded to create a major new attraction in the city.

Working alongside Faithful + Gould (cost management) and Ward Williams Associates (project management), Atkins will develop the detailed design to support a further application to the HLF in 2016.

The new Plymouth History Centre will transform the existing City Museum and Art Gallery into a cutting-edge, interactive centre, three times its existing size. Scheduled to open its doors in 2019, it will provide a new home for the city’s five most fascinating and vast historic collections, making them more accessible to everyone.

The official project partners are Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery, Plymouth and West Devon Record Office, South West Film and Television Archive, South West Image Bank and the University of Plymouth.

Atkins’ project architect, Kevin Presland, said:

“The museum has been a landmark in Plymouth for many years. Our architects and heritage experts have some great experience of how to retain history but add a modern twist, and we look forward to designing a new attraction in Plymouth which will bring its past to life and engage a 21st century audience.”

Jeremy Dunn, senior associate director, said:

“Working on this hugely exciting opportunity to bring together the five collections in both new and restored historically significant buildings is a challenge that we look forward to with relish.”

Councillor Peter Smith, deputy leader, Plymouth City Council, said:

“This key appointment signals the start of a detailed design phase which will involve continued engagement with Plymouth residents, local history enthusiasts and art and history experts.”

The project will be delivered by Atkins’ Exeter-based architecture team, with support from the wider Atkins Group and Plymouth-based consultancy Ward Williams Associates.

Atkins’ heritage portfolio includes the award-winning £50m Grade II listed Liverpool Library and Archive, as well as The Keep History Centre in Surrey and the National Newspaper archive in Boston Spa.

Ward Williams Associates’ heritage experience includes The Heartlands Project in Cornwall, a £22.5m scheme to transform a derelict urban areas into cultural landscape based on Cornish mining history.