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Press release

Museum appoints HBG for major construction project

Natural History Museum appoints HBG for major construction project

The Natural History Museum can today confirm that it has appointed HBG to carry out the construction of Darwin Centre Phase Two. The contract is worth circa £41million and the construction period will commence in June 2006 and complete July 2008

Darwin Centre Phase Two will be built on the west side of the Natural History Museum's site in South Kensington. It will join the Grade I listed Waterhouse Building with Darwin Centre Phase One to complete the Darwin Centre development. Phase Two will house the Museum's collections of historically unique and scientifically irreplaceable insects and plants. It will include state-of-the-art laboratories and provide visitors with a fascinating insight into the Museum's research. It is scheduled to open to the public by late 2009.

'HBG was chosen from a shortlist of five because of their past experience and enthusiasm for the building', said Neil Greenwood, the Natural History Museum's Programme Director for Darwin Centre Phase Two.  'We were impressed by their intelligent and cost-effective approach to the project and their previous work on the Kings Cross development and their developments at 12 Arthur Street and 70 Gracechurch Street.'

Darwin Centre Phase Two has been designed by the Danish firm C.F.Møller Architects. The key feature of the eight -storey building will be a sprayed-concrete 'cocoon' structure, which will be the largest structure of its type in the UK. Finished with polished plaster, it will provide a constant temperature of 170c and relative humidity of 45 percent to protect 28 million insect and 3 million plant specimens from damage by fire, insect pests and fluctuating conditions. It will also be able to accommodate 250 Museum science staff, students and research visitors.

BREEAM (the Building Research Establishment's Environmental Assessment Method) has been used to ensure the building reaches a high standard of sustainability. Darwin Centre Phase Two is being project managed by Heery International.

'We are delighted to have the opportunity to construct this unique building,' said Mike Donegan, Construction Director, HBG. 'Darwin Centre Phase Two will be one of London's most recognisable buildings and we are looking forward to tackling the challenges of working on such a major construction adjacent to the magnificent Grade I listed Waterhouse building.'

More than £60 million has been pledged to build Darwin Centre Phase Two and a fundraising campaign is underway to reach the final target. Major supporters include the Heritage Lottery Fund, The Wellcome Trust, Department for Culture, Media and Sport, The Garfield Weston Foundation, The Cadogan Charity, Professor Anthony and Mrs Angela Marmont and GlaxoSmithKline plc. Phase One, housing the Museum's 22 million zoological specimens stored in spirit, opened in September 2002 and was crucial to the Museum winning the Gold Award for Large Visitor Attraction of the Year at the Excellence in England Awards 2004.


Notes for editors

  • Winner of the 2006 Independent award for the UK's favourite museum, gallery or heritage attraction at the Museum and Heritage Awards for Excellence, the Natural History Museum is also a world-leading science research centre. Through its collections and scientific expertise, the Museum is helping to conserve the extraordinary richness and diversity of the natural world with groundbreaking projects in 68 countries.
  • HBG UK Ltd one of the UK's leading construction services organisations, with a turnover exceeding £770 million. It operates throughout the UK from regional centres in Bristol, Cardiff, Coventry, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, London, Manchester and Newcastle. HBG UK Ltd is part of the €7.4 billion turnover European construction company Royal BAM Group.

For further information, please contact:
Tel: 020 7942 5881/5654