National Maritime Museum

Evoking the essence of the sea through sound and movement of water in the landscape

Unlocking the connectivity of this ancient World Heritage Site, Churchman Thornhill Finch integrated a new circulation route and entrance into the Greenwich Complex focusing on the new Sammy Ofer Wing.

 (Churchman Thornhill Finch)
 (Churchman Thornhill Finch)

The Greenwich World Heritage Site provides the context for a new entrance pavilion for one of London's major visitor attractions, the National Maritime Museum. This is a landscape steeped in history, having been created over nearly 400 years. 

 

Whilst it is now read as a grand plan it is in fact a composite structure that revealed itself over 250 years. The Queen’s House provides the point of reference for the formal composition; the Naval College, the baroque landscape, the Royal Observatory and the extensions to the National Maritime Museum all being added around this iconic structure.

Our initial assessment identified that circulation around the site, and specifically into the Museum was flawed. While the focus has been on the grand north–south axis running through the Queen's House, there is an equally significant east–west axis running across the boundary between the Royal Park and the Museum. Historically the connectivity between the two sites has been minimized, however, the new museum entrance provided the opportunity to unlock this frontage and to integrate a new circulation route into the Greenwich complex. Our design provides two principal aspects, a green frontage when viewed from the Royal Park, and a more urban character when viewed from the adjoining streets. 

 (Churchman Thornhill Finch)
 (Churchman Thornhill Finch)

Water features evoke the essence of the sea through sound and movement.

 

A 160m long raised rill draws visitors in from the boundary and provides for children’s play, sailing paper boats and games of pooh sticks. A gently inclined series of flooded steps give the sense of waters lapping onto the sea-shore. Planting is similarly representative of the maritime influences with roof-top plantings based around cliff-top and shingle-loving species.