Attractions industry news
25 Oct 2012
Wellcome Collection unveils £17.5m expansion plans
Wellcome Collection in central London has unveiled a major £17.5m development project which will increase the attraction's available gallery space.
Stirling Prize-winning architects Wilkinson Eyre will transform the venue, bringing new areas into public use and adding a dramatic new spiral staircase and interconnected galleries.
The works were commissioned by the collection's owner, Wellcome Trust, as it strives to meet the demands posed by an increase in visitor numbers at the attraction.
Wellcome Collection - a free attraction - was originally designed to accommodate 100,000 yearly visits but over the past year the venue has welcomed more than 490,000 people to its critically acclaimed programme of events and exhibitions.
Due to open in mid-2014, the new spaces will create an interdisciplinary and 'curiosity-driven' cultural destination dedicated to medicine, life and art.
A major new thematic gallery will hold in-depth exhibitions over a year-long period, with a mixture of semi-permanent displays and exhibits.
A dedicated youth events studio will offer an activity space for people aged 14-19-years-old to engage with and produce work that contributes to the Wellcome Collection programme.
The Wellcome Library's iconic Reading Room will be transformed into an public space, bridging the gap between the Library's research community and the public and opening its rich collections to new audiences.
This new space will sit at the heart of the building. The research Library will also grow, offering scholars and readers an outstanding environment for study, with an expansion of the rare materials room and new spaces for desks and open-access shelving.
The Hub at Wellcome Collection, a new space for interdisciplinary research, will catalyse research and public engagement collaborations between the brightest minds across specialisms, and grants will be available for group residencies.
An events series, Spotlight, will also be established, offering a forum for experts from different disciplines to come together and debate key topics affecting medicine, science and society. A new restaurant, in addition to the current café, will also be added.
Clare Matterson, director of Medical Humanities and Engagement at the Wellcome Trust, says: "The phenomenal success of Wellcome Collection over the last five years is a wonderful affirmation of our conviction that adults are interested and inspired by complex themes that make connections across science, history, art and health."
Wellcome Collection opened on 21 June 2007 and its galleries explore the connections between medicine, life and art in the past, present and future.
To read more about the project, click here.