The reconfiguration and extension of the Epping Forest District Museum in Waltham Abbey expands gallery provision and increases accessibility to the district’s eclectic collection of artefacts.
The museum is housed in two adjoining Grade II listed buildings – one building dating back to the mid-Sixteenth Century with the other of the Georgian Era. The buildings were originally converted for the museum’s use in 1979.
In order to create step-free access a new staircase and lift were constructed in a tightly constrained central circulation core, whilst floor levels were adjusted locally with the introduction of new ramps where necessary. Poorly conceived Twentieth Century elements which had been introduced over the years have been stripped away, presenting the opportunity to reveal and celebrate aspects of the original building construction.
The lateral extension of the museum is achieved by breaking through at first floor level into the former office accommodation above the adjoining library.
The new structural interventions were developed to ensure that they did not damage the character of the buildings or unnecessarily disturb the historic fabric. The additional structural elements were carefully considered in a conservation context with invasive works minimised where possible.
Shortlisted for AJ Retrofit Awards 2016 – Cultural Buildings Award