Brave in the face of history: Maidstone Museum extension by Hugh Broughton Architects.
Text: Detail Daily
A Tudor manor house from 1561 is at the heart of the Maidstone Museum. Established as a museum in 1858 by the local council, it has had a number of extensions and alterations over the years resulting in an eclectic architectural basket of styles and ideas reflecting the collection itself. That tradition is continued and celebrated with Hugh Broughton Architects' East Wing extension that resulted from an RIBA competition win.
The copper alloy shingles that clad the building are arranged in a dia-grid and carefully tread an aesthetic line between the gaudy and tasteful, firmly evoking the latter. They also evoke the precious nature of the museum's mixed collection of artefacts. The other principal material used for the external cladding is bonded glazing. It is the interplay between the glazing and shingles that is particularly convincing and both sit well with the brick and stonework of the older buildings.
The facilities add new gallery spaces, a public meeting room, shop and above all architectural credibility. Congratulations to the town Burghers in their brave and ultimately vindicated decision not to play it safe.