John Wesley's New Room

John Wesley’s New Room © Phil Boorman

Purcell was commissioned to design a new extension within an existing underused courtyard area to provide new accommodation for administration facilities relocated from the existing building, an education suite, an enlarged library & archive facility, as well as improved ancillary facilities. The extra space in the existing building will be used to expand existing museum facilities, which can be accessed from a new lift.

The site is a relatively small urban courtyard defined on three sides by buildings in separate ownership and with Rights of Light. The fourth side is formed by the Grade I listed New Room. The courtyard contains a Grade II listed statue, standing and below ground archaeology, trees, and existing lean-to structures.

The proposed design solution maintains and enhances an existing axial route leading from a busy shopping street to the tranquillity of the New Room. Visitors will experience a sequence of distinct external and internal spaces culminating in a double height glazed courtyard immediately adjacent to the existing building. From here visitors can climb a discreet stair to the first floor Library & Archive facility, and the new Education Suite on the second floor. A new glazed bridge will span between new and old, allowing full wheelchair access to the refurbished & represented museum.