Black Country Living Museum, Dudley, Birmingham

  • Masterplanning
  • RIBA Shortlisting Competition
  • 2017

The Black Country Living Museum is a world class heritage attraction in the heart of the Black Country, telling the unique story of the first industrial landscape worldwide.

Formed in 1966 as a small-scale memorial to the Industrial Revolution, the exhibition rapidly expanded to feature tramways, canals, mines and full-scale equipment from the 1800's. Now with over 300,000 visitors a year and its use as location filming for BBC 2 hit drama, Peaky Blinders, it looks to manage its growth with a new visitor centre. The open international competition required a building that can host its 5,000 daily visitors, providing a clear visitor welcome and orientation, ability to quickly process ticket sales, give a brief introduction to the history of the Black Country & BCLM and provide retail, café and toilet facilities.

Our concept blended with the existing landscape while providing a feeling of anticipation on approach, by showcasing a selection of eye-catching exhibits. The layout makes clever use of the site, encouraging the visitors to meander through the U-shaped building, allowing for longer queues and more exhibition features, while reducing the pressure of ticket sales. Large windows provide striking views and natural light, but sensitive use of traditional materials prevents the building from seeming too modern.