No. 1 Smithery

No. 1 Smithery

No1 Smithery (c) James Brittain

Architect: van Heyningen and Haward Architects

Client: Bill Harris, Chief Executive Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust

Photographer: James Brittain

This is a museum within the museum; its function is to show both building and the objects it houses. The falling-down majesty of the existing buildings has been artfully retained and gently restored.

The new exhibition spaces are constructed as separate elements - highly insulated, air tight, with thermal mass too - they require very little beyond minimal temperature control, and low lighting. They provide a sophisticated controlled 21st century museum environment and so can successfully operate within the conserved, historic fabric. These rendered abstract boxes sit quietly within the stately Georgian sheds. Once inside you are within a space that commands no presence and is purely dedicated to the display of the exhibits within. The plain and stark contrast between these two places is dramatic.

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