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Holburne Museum
Bath, England, 2011

Awards: Museum + Heritage Awards for Excellence 2012: joint winner; Architects Journal AJ100 Building of the Year Award 2012: Highly Commended; Civic Trust Award winner 2012; AJ Retrofit Awards 2012: winner, Museums and Galleries category, and overall Building of the Year.


Eric Parry Architects designed an extension to the Holburne Museum of Art in Bath that opened in 2011. The new building provides two galleries for the permanent display of the Museum’s collections, plus a top-lit gallery for temporary exhibitions. The existing gallery areas in the original building have been restored, with all of the objects redisplayed in a new exhibition design by Metaphor.

The original Picture Gallery and new temporary exhibition gallery are primarily naturally lit. The three large cupolas in the Picture Gallery have been renovated, with new diffusion and black-out blinds introduced to allow the ingress of natural light to be controlled. The blinds and the system of track and spotlights within the gallery are linked to a daylight sensor; this maximises the use of natural light within the space, bringing on the artificial lighting only when required.

The new temporary exhibition gallery is top-lit, with skylights running in a band around the perimeter, and a large central rooflight. Daylight control is provided by an external mechanical louvre system, which responds to daylight levels measured within the space. The position of the louvres automatically adjusts to modulate light levels and prevent direct sunlight reaching the display plane. Local override allows practical blackout conditions to be set for exhibitions requiring lower light levels. Eric Parry Architects designed an extension to the Holburne Museum of Art in Bath that opened in 2011. The new building provides two galleries for the permanent display of the Museum’s collections, plus a top-lit gallery for temporary exhibitions. The existing gallery areas in the original building have been restored, with all of the objects redisplayed in a new exhibition design by Metaphor.

The original Picture Gallery and new temporary exhibition gallery are primarily naturally lit. The three large cupolas in the Picture Gallery have been renovated, with new diffusion and black-out blinds introduced to allow the ingress of natural light to be controlled. The blinds and the system of track and spotlights within the gallery are linked to a daylight sensor; this maximises the use of natural light within the space, bringing on the artificial lighting only when required.

The new temporary exhibition gallery is top-lit, with skylights running in a band around the perimeter, and a large central rooflight. Daylight control is provided by an external mechanical louvre system, which responds to daylight levels measured within the space. The position of the louvres automatically adjusts to modulate light levels and prevent direct sunlight reaching the display plane. Local override allows practical blackout conditions to be set for exhibitions requiring lower light levels. ">