Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios to replace Adjaye Associates on Liverpool’s International Slavery Museum and Maritime Museum renovation

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Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios to replace Adjaye Associates on Liverpool’s International Slavery Museum and Maritime Museum renovation

Dr Martin Luther King Jr building and the Hartley Pavilion in Royal Albert Dock Liverpool will undergo a renovation now led by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios. (© Ant Clausen)

Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios (FCBStudios) will take over as design leads for the renovation of Liverpool’s International Slavery Museum and Maritime Museum. FCBS assumed the commission after National Museums Liverpool (NML) severed ties with Adjaye Associates following allegations of sexual misconduct against David Adjaye. Adjaye Associates was selected as the winning firm for the renovation in 2022 following a competition. Ralph Appelbaum Associates, appointed in 2022 alongside Adjaye Associates, will stay on the design team in the role of exhibition designer.

“To be bringing two such visionary designers with international reputations to the project represents the bold ambition and thinking behind it,” said NML director Laura Pye in a statement.

The project will focus on two existing Grade I–listed buildings situated along the Liverpool waterfront: the Hartley Pavilion—a former warehouse housing the Maritime Museum and International Slave Museum—and the  adjacent Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Building (MLK). The Maritime Museum opened in 1984 to share the area’s seafaring history and the International Slavery Museum opened on the third floor of the same building in 2007.

The redesign is part of a larger initiative known as the Waterfront Transformation Project, a new vision for the sites between Liverpool’s Royal Albert Dock and Mann Island. The visionary scheme also takes on reimagining the Canning Dock, a project by Asif Khan Studio and Theaster Gates, supported by Adjaye Associates and Atelier Masōmī, that transforms the former docks into usable public space.

FCBStudios is well suited to work on the project and already familiar with the site and its history. The firm with offices across the United Kingdom and Ireland has worked on other projects for National Museums Liverpool and developed the master plan for the slew of waterfront projects that have already taken hold at the site.

Peter Clegg, FCBS; Kudzai Matsvai, University of Liverpool; Kossy Nnachetta, FCBS; Geoff Rich, FCBS; and Ilze Wolff, University of Liverpool (© Pete Carr)

The firm also supported the two museums in their bid for project funding from the National Heritage Lottery fund. Additionally, the firm was one of four to be shortlisted in the competition that first awarded the job to Adjaye Associates. Other shortlisted firms were Haworth Tompkins with JA Projects and heneghen peng architects with DROO Architects.

“FCBS are excited and humbled by the invitation to join the NML team and to lead the architectural transformation of these museums,” added FCBS partner, Kossy Nnachetta. “We understand that there is huge responsibility to help create a platform to tell this story, long whispered, yet still awaiting the space to fully express itself; and all the potent, deep-seated emotions it can elicit.”

In addition to Ralph Appelbaum Associates, FCBStudios will also be joined by faculty and a PhD candidate from the University of Liverpool School of Architecture. This team includes professors Ilze Wolff and Ola Uduku; and PhD candidate Kudzai Matsvai.

Under the redesign, the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Building will now serve as the main entry point into the International Slavery Museum, an effort aimed at giving the museum a stronger presence. As for the Hartley Pavilion renovations will concentrate on improving circulation and will add a new shop, cafe, and event and exhibition space.

The project is estimated to cost around $73.3 million (£58 million).