Exercise 1 continued – Large Scale

My third image that represents LARGE scale is of the courtyard interior at the British Museum. I was reading a book that I ordered, Form & Structure, Basics Interior Architecture and this image caught my eye. On further investigation online, I read that an architectural competition to redesign the courtyard space was launched with the aim of revealing hidden spaces, revising old spaces and creating new spaces. There was more than 130 entries, the eventual winner was Foster and Partners.

Fig. 1 – The Great Court at The British Museum

The British Museum was constructed between 1823 and 1859 by Sir Robert Smirke and is today one of London’s main tourist attractions.

The redesign of the Great Court with it’s magnificent glass and steel roof –made from 3,212 panes of glass (no two of which are the same) – began in September 1999 and was opened to the public in 2000. The space now allows the previously hidden space to be seen once again, no longer lost to the general public. His design was loosely based on the Reichstag copula design, his main aim was for the public to take every step in the Great Court offering a different view of the surroundings. The two elliptical staircases that surround the great circular reading room provide access to the restaurant and gallery, whilst offering visitors the chance to observe the activities in the courtyard. Once completed it gave visitors the chance to move freely around the main floor of the Museum, offering a covered public space featuring as a crucial component part of a pedestrian route from the new British Library at St. Pancras, down through the Great Court, and on to Trafalgar Square.

Fig. 2 – A sketch of the Great Court at the British Museum

I found a great sketch online, showing where two worlds of designs collide, in an amazing way. The roof stands 26.3 metres above the floor at its highest point, to give it a little more context it’s nearly as tall as six of London’s double-decker buses. The Great Court is a two-acre space enclosed by a spectacular glass roof with the world-famous Reading Room in the middle enjoyed by thousands of people each year. A great large scale example of how good design of buildings within a space really does work.

Fig. 1 – The Great Court at The British Museum https://www.britishmuseum.org/about-us/british-museum-story/architecture/great-court (accessed 11.3.23)

Fig. 2 – A sketch of the Great Court at the British Museum gerard michel 7 | Architecture sketch, British museum, Architecture drawing (accessed 11.3.23)

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