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Winner of grounds redesign competition revealed

Niall McLaughlin Architects with Kim Wilkie have won the chance to redevelop the Natural History Museum's grounds in a competition launched last autumn.

The team was the unanimous choice of the jury, which includes Michael Portillo, for their designs shown here. 

They will now work with the Museum to create an innovative setting that matches the visual excellence of the world famous Waterhouse building and Darwin Centre.

Chair of the jury Ian Henderson, who is also chair of the Museum's Estates and Building Advisory Committee, said the challenge was to find a team that would consider the changing nature of the Museum and think holistically to consider the Museum and the grounds together.

'Niall McLaughlin Architects did this brilliantly,' he said.

Director of the Museum Dr Michael Dixon said, 'I am delighted we are appointing a team that fully understands the Museum's opportunities and challenges for the future.'

Dr Dixon said he was looking forward to working with the team to develop a new design for the grounds that enhances the character of the buildings and gives the increasing number of visitors the best possible experience.

The four other teams shortlisted were:

  • BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group) with Martha Schwartz Partners
  • Grant Associates with Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios
  • Land Use Consultants (LUC) with Design Engine
  • Stanton Williams Architects with Bradley-Hole Schoenaich Landscape Architects

Nial McLaughlin will be the Norman R Foster Visiting Professor at Yale University during 2015. Kim Wilkie designed the gardens of the neighbouring Victoria and Albert Museum and worked with Mr McLaughlin on the Oxford Botanic Gardens.

A record 5,356,884 visitors came to the Museum in 2013, an increase of 6.7 per cent year on year.

The Museum is now the UK's third most visited free visitor attraction in a league table compiled by the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA), moving up from fourth place in 2012. The British Museum remains top, with the National Gallery second.