The World Conservation and Exhibitions Centre (WCEC) is an expansion of the British Museum designed by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners and completed in 2014 to give London’s famous museum plenty of space for temporary exhibitions, offices, storage and laboratories. A contemporary building in which advanced technologies help save energy and improve storage conditions for historic artefacts. Natural light, for example, passes through a system of horizontal glass panels to provide optimal lighting for the display areas and laboratories.
The building won Riba’s East London award and is one of six projects shortlisted for the Riba Stirling Prize 2017. The judges appreciated the project’s severity and the solutions the architects used to overcome major challenges in terms of spaces and requirements to be met. The building was constructed in the northwest corner of the British Museum, in the Bloomsbury district, in a central, urbanised location in the city. It is composed of five vertically organised pavilions, one of which is underground, with a clear system of internal circulation incorporating glass elevators, bridges and windows. The new exhibition spaces are big enough to contain objects that could not be exhibited in the British Museum, with the added advantage that they may be delivered directly at street level.