The Science Museum Group

Client             The Science Museum Group

Duration        London: 10-12 weeks York: 4 weeks Bradford: 5 weeks Manchester: 6 weeks

The Space

The Science Museum Group consists of 5 museums across the UK, the Science Museum in London, the Science and Industry Museum in Manchester, the National Railway Museum in York, Locomotion in County Durham and the National Science and Media Museum in Bradford. Resolution Interiors were contracted to complete major refurbishment and refresh works at 4 of these 5 sites. The Science Museum in London has been the biggest project, with works taking place in staff break out spaces and canteens, offices and toilets.

Some existing public facilities did not reflect the Science Museum Group’s commitment to be inclusive and accessible for all visitors – many thousands of which visit the museums each day. This project was an excellent opportunity to provide high quality, accessible and fit for purpose facilities across the museums. The project objectives were to:

  • Improve accessibility through the creation of Changing Places toilets and upgraded accessible facilities.
  • Provide visitors and staff with fit for purpose facilities and increase visitor/staff satisfaction.
  • Improve the sustainability of the estate through low energy, low water solutions and durable equipment choices.
  • Standardise facilities and equipment across sites where possible, for ease of maintenance, efficiency, and brand alignment.
  • Address longstanding building infrastructure and capacity issues and deliver solutions that will work for the long term.

How we made the space work

Our sister agency, Field took on the design work for this project, working collaboratively with the build team throughout. The design provided a set of well-designed spaces that meet the needs of their primary users, whether that be staff, visitors or both, adopting hard-wearing materials and finishes that are durable and easily cleaned in response to high traffic.

The design was functional to ensure that equipment can be updated and maintained easily by SMG’s FM contractor. The concept was considered to achieve a unified look and feel across the entire Science Museum Group, standardising finishes and fittings. The team have delivered a clean, contemporary, and welcoming look, that is uncluttered to ensure ease of use and allow for staff and visitors to make their way around the spaces without unnecessary impediments. Although the historical nature of the buildings meant certain works were not permitted, actions such as unblocking windows and raising ceilings helped spaces to feel bigger and brighter.

The design of the spaces provided flexibility to adhere to any government-issued coronavirus legislation, such as social distancing etc. whilst favouring sustainable approaches, such as sustainably sourced, recyclable materials and low energy and low water use equipment.

We worked collaboratively with the museum project teams and accessibility advocates to provide excellent experiences for all visitors and staff.