Architect Purcell has unveiled proposals for an expansion of Manchester Museum, including two galleries and a new entrance facing Bridgeford Street.
The steel-framed extension will be built in the Museum’s existing courtyard facing Coupland Street, and will house a permanent 3,000 sq ft South Asia Gallery on the first floor, supported by the British Museum, which will outline the history and culture of the Indian subcontinent.
It will also include a 5,400 sq ft special exhibitions gallery on the ground floor to house “world-class” touring exhibitions. The museum’s current temporary exhibition space is just under 2,000 sq ft leaving it “unable to take or develop any international touring shows,” according to Purcell.
The project, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, features a new entrance which has been designed to improve visitor flow and ease congestion on its Bridgeford Street frontage. Visitor numbers at the museum are now nearly at 500,000 per year and have more than trebled in the past 20 years.
The new entrance will replace the building’s current entrance facing Coupland Street, which will be covered by the extension.
The project team has now submitted a planning application to Manchester City Council for consideration.
Purcell’s proposals follow previous feasibility studies for an expansion of the museum, including by Ian Simpson Architects in 2009; Buttress in 2012; and ZMMA in November 2015.
Alongside Purcell, the team also includes M&E consultant Max Fordham; Buro Four; Appleyard & Trew; and Burohappold Engineering.