Alongside The Creative Core, we were commissioned by Derby Museums in early 2022 to explore a masterplan vision for the Museum and Art Gallery (MAG) and the former Central Library Wardwick complex to fully redevelop the site and integrate the building’s previous disparate usage into one cohesive visitor experience. The unusual approach of fusing architecture and interpretation form an early point in the concept development unlocks the potential for the building and interpretation to be in true synthesis and to realise the uniqueness of this place.
We were excited to continue working with our long-term client Derby Museums and our collaborators The Creative Core following on from the successful redevelopment and re-imagining of the Museum of Making at Derby Silk Mill which opened in 2021. Where that project was inspired by makers of the past, present and future, this project looks to take inspiration from the city’s intellectual story.
A redeveloped Museum and Art Gallery under the working title ‘The Ideas that Made Us’ explores the intellectual heritage of the city, taking as its starting point the Enlightenment and the work of Joseph Wright of Derby and his milieu. The museum will examine how ideas fostered during the 18th century, such as scientific enquiry and the notion of progress, shaped the growth of industry and empire, and how its social and environmental legacy has shaped the city-scape and communities of Derby today.
- The historical development of the site and buildings poses unique opportunities to reconnect the buildings to the surrounding streets to draw in new visitors and to better integrate the MAG into the urban fabric of the city centre.
- The vision proposes to re-activate Museum Square at the rear to become the primary entrance, bringing animation to this underutilised space and creating opportunities for museum activities to extend out into the public realm.
- The MAG would be reorganised to provide a clear, legible and spatially rich visitor journey with a new top-lit atrium providing a dramatic orientation point in the heart of the complex.
- New light wells illuminate multi-level spaces throughout the building, bringing natural daylight deep into the plan and into basement areas ‘enlightening’ and revealing behind-the-scenes activities and providing cross-sectional views through the collections.
- The MAG is proposed to house the works of Joseph Wright of Derby, providing rare opportunities to display and interpret a globally significant collection in innovative ways.
Images by Bauman Lyons Architects and The Creative Core