Project Description

  • London, UK
  • British Museum Co Ltd

POD Architects were appointed to design a rooftop bar and restaurant atop The British Museum developing the concept design to RIBA Stage 2.

The British Museum was founded in 1753 with the Cabinet of Curiosity bought from Sir Hans Sloane, an English physician, who had collected a catalogue of plants, animals and curiosities during his travels in the West Indies and had acquired collections from other collectors.

We have used this concept- ‘cabinet of curiosities’, as our inspiration for an object of interest, function and curiosity. The rooftop bar is visible from the surrounding area and offers spectacular views over London. The building has been formed of glass and the objects contained within have continued this theme by using glass in different forms to create the curiosity within. Thus the cabinet functions as a source of interest to the passing public and user alike.

The arrival and departure to the rooftop bar is directed by glass objects or sculptures in the courtyard and corridors to the newly formed area with cast glass walls which house the routes to the roof.

We have sought to create a temporary object of theatre which respects the historical value of the building but attempts to add to the experience and provide a contemporary destination for the public.

The development has taken care to understand the public space requirements of a bar and restaurant set within the site of an English Heritage grade 1 listed building complex. Careful consideration has been given to its positioning relative to the grade 1 listed facade and the public realm and usage of the space with signposting and routing to and from the bar.

This has been studied along with the viability of the catering offer and servicing of the proposal.