Howe Green’s access covers give power to The Sainsbury Exhibitions Gallery

Architects chose UK manufacturer Howe Green to provide a unique access cover solution for The Sainsbury Exhibitions Gallery at The World Conservation and Exhibitions Centre (WCEC).

The WCEC designed by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (RSHP) and constructed by Mace is one of the largest redevelopment projects in the British Museum’s 260 year history. Located in the north-west corner of the Museum’s Bloomsbury estate, the £135 million Centre provides a new public exhibitions gallery, state-of-the-art laboratories and studios, world class stores for the collection, as well as facilities to support the Museum’s extensive UK and international loan programme.

RSHP required a reliable access cover solution for the interior scheme to provide a series of service points at regular intervals throughout the gallery’s 1,100sqm floor area.  With aesthetics and performance of equal importance, Howe Green designed and manufactured a circular access cover in 316-grade stainless steel. The bespoke cover offered a stylish and discreet solution, capable of withstanding a 40kn load.  Each box section had built-in cable access and voice/data plug-in points and slotted steel lids were made for when in use.  The access covers also accepted coloured polished concrete inserts made to match the surrounding Ed Lazenby floor and provide an uninterrupted floor finish when required.

The design of the WCEC building, which consists of five pavilions (one of which is submerged below the ground) is sensitive to the British Museum’s existing architecture and is connected to the historic building.  The new gallery opened earlier this year with an exhibition devoted to the Vikings (supported by BP) and from September, it will host the Ming exhibition. With Howe Green’s reliable and high quality access cover solutions installed, this exceptional new facility, along with its historic expositions, will be reliably served by 21st century building services.