Work on Keith Williams Architect’s Novium Museum nears completion in the heart of historic Chichester, West Sussex. The main build construction by Vinci Construction UK was completed in autumn 2011, whilst the exhibition designed by Event Communications is in progress ready for the museum’s formal public opening in July.
Our client, Chichester District Council’s ambition for the project, centred on the replacement of its historic museum, with a much larger new building that would more effectively display the breadth of its collections. The site, a former public car park, in Tower Street in the city centre was chosen as it is in line sight of the City’s Cathedral, and because important archaeological remains of the city’s Roman baths were discovered in the 1970s, beneath the current ground surface level. The new museum, which was won by Keith Williams Architects in the 2007 RIBA competition, spans the remains of the baths (the hypocaust), which date from the Flavian period (1st Century AD). These important archaeological remains have been restored and incorporated in situ into the Novium’s main entrance hall and gallery as a permanent exhibit forming an intrinsic part of the museum.
The new 1,100m2 Novium contains galleries over the ground and a further two floor levels, which have been designed to be as flexible as possible allowing a mix of permanent and temporary exhibition in a tempered environment to enable a range of exhibitions and exhibits to be displayed in conditions which meet the standards for national touring and permanent display. The Museum also contains education spaces, archive, restoration, research and staff areas.