The British Museum made a big score this week and had a small setback. The score was the announcement of a partnership with the Zayed National Museum in Abu Dhabi that will provide £135m in funds for the British institution. On the flip side, the Camden Council rejected plans for an extension to the British Museum’s building designed by Richard Rogers.
The Times of London handles the Gulf State joint venture:
THE British Museum has struck a multi-million-pound deal to help launch a museum in the Middle East designed by Lord Foster.
In its biggest overseas venture, the institution will be unveiled tomorrow as the official partner of the national museum of Abu Dhabi, the oil-rich Gulf state. The new building will sit alongside offshoots of the Louvre and the Guggenheim museums.
As part of a 10-year contract, the British Museum will lend some of its treasures to the venue and help it set up and curate exhibitions. The museum’s galleries will be based on a number of themes, one promoting “the story of oil”. […]
Named after the sheikh who first joined the seven kingdoms of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in 1971, the Zayed National Museum will be the “cornerstone project” of a multi-billion-pound cultural development on Saadiyat Island, off the Abu Dhabi coast.
The museum is due to open in 2013 and, in line with its British partner, will not charge an entrance free.
Architectsjournal reports on the Council vote and its implications:
The North Western development of the central London landmark, by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (RSHP), was turned down by the borough’s planning committee last night (23 July) by five votes to four – but the exact reasons for the refusal remain unclear.
Speaking during a lengthy debate about the 17,000m² project facing Montagu Place, Lib Dem councillor Paul Braithwaite said:‘We seem to be piggy-backing in an absolutely huge over-development.’
British Museum Treasures Head for Abu Dhabi (Times of London)
Shock Refusal for Rogers British Museum Extension (The Architect’s Journal)