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  • Heather Fearfield

Stanton Williams to speak on the new Museum of London


We are delighted that Paul Williams, Director of architectural practice Stanton Williams will be speaking at our 'Art and Cities' forum in April at the Goldmiths' Hall, City of London. Paul is leading the creation of the new Museum of London and will also be speaking on work carried out to connect the Royal Opera House, London with its surrounding environment and community.

The Museum of London is moving because of lack of space from its current site at London Wall to West Smithfield. The museum's new home includes the Smithfield General Market. The buildings were designed by Sir Horace Jones with the Meat Market the first to be completed in the 1860s. Over the century, the buildings fell into disrepair and modifications are taking place to turn the market into a museum. The vision for the new museum aims to balance a crisp and contemporary design with a strong recognition of the physicality and power of the existing spaces of the site.

The Royal Opera House's extensively redesigned Linbury Theatre opened this year with a new contemporary programme - including 'The Monstrous Child', an opera by British composer Gavin Higgins.

Transformed by Stanton Williams and a team of 30 contractors, this famous opera house has turned itself into a multifaceted, inclusive cultural and social hub. Taking over three years to complete, the project balances the desire to attract new audiences for ballet and opera with the need to respect the ROH's heritage and unique character, only minimal changes being made to the EM Barry design of 1858.

Stanton William's key move has been to extensively reconfigure the previously restricted ground floor to provide 50% more foyer space, in tandem with a redesign of the Bow Street and Covent Garden piazza entrances. This creates greater street presence and transparency in order to encourage more visitors inside - whether or not they are seeing a performance. The opera house will now be open every day from 10 am welcoming visitors to the new café, restaurants, shop and programme of events.

The Linbury Theatre has been reconfigured to create a second public performance space for opera and ballet that also serves as an artistic and creative hub for the Royal Opera and Royal Ballet companies. The escalator wall in the ground floor of the Bow Street foyer area will be animated using surface treatment, digital technology and lighting.

Chief Executive of the Royal Opera House, Alex Beard says 'Our brand new entrances, extended foyers and terraces, new café, new bar and restaurant, Linbury Theatre, refurbished Clore Studio as well as extensive programme of daytime events, activities and festivals, make the Royal Opera House London's newest day time destination...we want as many people as possible to experience our art forms and get a taste of the remarkable creativity at play here'.

Paul formed Stanton Williams with Alan Stanton in 1985. As founding directors they have been responsible for the creative direction of the practice since its inception. Paul is actively involved with the strategic design development of the studio’s projects, which have won over 100 national and international awards, including the 2012 Stirling Prize.

The practice has developed its portfolio from an initial focus on museums and galleries towards a wide variety of projects, all of which demonstrate its overarching objective of putting the user’s experience of space, light and materials at the forefront of the agenda, as well as creating places that sensitively respond to their cultural, social and physical context.

Paul's work has been shaped by his passionate belief in the integration of art and architecture. Throughout his career he has championed the importance of the arts within our education system, campaigning for greater focus on interdisciplinary thinking. He was on the founding UK Council of the Creative Industries Federation, which supports and champions the UK’s creative industries in their multiple forms, and is a member of the RIBA Public Education Committee.

After graduating from Birmingham College of Art, Paul headed the V&A Museum Design Department for nearly 4 years before being awarded a Fulbright research grant to study Museum and Gallery Design at Yale. Returning to London in 1980, he set up his own London based practice designing permanent and temporary exhibition installations for a number of the world’s foremost museums and art galleries, before setting up in practice with Alan Stanton.

Major projects span an exceptional range of building types - and many of which have involved collaboration with artists - include the Museum of London at West Smithfield, UAL campus for Central Saint Martins at King’s Cross, Compton Verney Art Gallery, the Millennium Seedbank and the practice’s many exhibitions and museum installations.

Paul has been an architectural advisor to HLF, CABE and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, and is currently on the fabric advisory panel of St Paul’s Cathedral. He has also been a trustee of Space Studios and the Whitechapel Art Gallery. Paul lectures regularly at various universities and institutions both in the UK and abroad, as well as acting as an external examiner for a number of architecture schools in the UK.

Paul was the first design trained British architect to be registered by ARB (Architects Registration Board). He was awarded the title of Royal Designer (RDI) in 2005 for sustained excellence in design throughout his career and received an honorary doctorate from University of the Arts London in 2012. He received an OBE for services to architecture in 2014.

#RoyalOperaHouse #StantonWilliams #MuseumofLondon

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