The Ashmolean Museum Renovation • Oxford, UK
The accommodation in this new extension is structured around interlocking double-height gallery spaces, which run north south & east west. The north-south galleries align with the major Cockerell axes of the portico and the west wing; their height although indicated as double-height is akin to the Cockerell Randolph Gallery. The intersections of the axes are punctuated by top-lit and side-lit cascading staircases, which allow the visitors to orientate themselves within the building and permit views into and between galleries. At each corner of the circulation pattern lifts and stairs are located in order to maximise access and orientation between floors.
The gallery spaces are located centrally in order to take advantage of the proximity to the Cockerell building towards the main entrance and the new primary routes. To the periphery of the new building we have located the meeting, study and office spaces that can take advantage of the natural light and ventilation. The third floor is utilised for the flexible meeting space and Conservation studio, which can take advantage of the plentiful roof light and north light - whilst the flexible meeting space can utilise the south facing terrace space.
A new secondary entrance is situated on St. Giles adjacent to the 1930's Taylorian Extension. Access is through the ornate stone gates between the Taylorian Extension and The Classics Institute at 65-67 St. Giles. The reception area is located beyond the gates and a small courtyard and is large enough to accommodate large groups of visitors, its primary purpose is to serve the education centre but secondly to serve group visitors who will visit the Museum by appointment.
Links to other buildings
The nature of the new building's site and the relationship and function of the adjacent buildings implies the new extension is part of (and connected to) many of its neighbours, forming a complex as opposed to a stand-alone building.
Primarily and most importantly the new building creates a covered ground-level link to the Cast Gallery. A visual link is made to the new Cast Gallery opening from the new Orientation Gallery encouraging as many visitors as possible to visit the Cast Gallery. Disabled access is also introduced to the Cast Gallery, which has previously not been possible.
We have also created a secure first floor link to the Sackler Library from the HCR Library in order that the facilities of each building can be utilised by either building in a controlled manner. Existing access routes and escape routes are also provided for the Taylorian, Classics and Oriental buildings.