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With a remarkable collection telling the story of domestic life housed in a set of richly atmospheric 18th century almshouses, the Museum of the Home is an institution of national significance. 

The remodelling of the existing building, 92% of which is retrofit, doubled the publicly accessible areas, created 80% more exhibition space and ameliorated the building’s deterioration, with no commensurate increase in energy consumption or the costly carbon count associated with a new build. The Museum is widely celebrated for its contributions to the public realm; it has received multiple awards and continues to be a thriving centre of civic engagement in the heart of Hackney.

The Museum's 'Gardens Through Time' green spaces feature a biodiverse range of native species year-round.

The scheme resolved the lower and ground floor galleries, realising an 80% increase in exhibition space in addition to a new collection study centre.

The scheme also improves public access through introducing a new main entrance directly opposite Hoxton Station, adds two new contemporary multi-functional garden pavilions together with a street-facing cafe. The design extends to landscaping, with new physical and visual links for visitors to the Museum’s gardens – one of the largest and most ecologically rich green spaces in Hackney.

Open to the public gardens, the new Learning Pavilion provides a welcoming space for educational programmes and convenings.

When Wright & Wright were commissioned to remodel the Museum in 2014, it was under a growing set of pressures. The fabric of its Grade 1 listed buildings was in jeopardy, with structural weaknesses and outdated services. Collections were housed in poor conditions, circulation was inefficient, and education and exhibition spaces were at capacity.

In developing and implementing a ‘fabric first’ approach, the spatial and experiential potential of the historic almshouse was the project’s key impetus, catalysing an architecturally sustainable, sensitive and hugely effective outcome.

The team have had innovative ideas about how to develop the museum which, in turn, has helped us in fundraising as well as more fully realise our ambitions. Wright & Wright understood the complex set of issues involved in this project and has balanced architectural and cultural opportunities with the sensitivities surrounding the history of the museum.

There is no doubt in my mind that Wright & Wright have been a critical element in realisation our ambitions and enabling the museum to reinvent itself for the future.

Samir Shah
Former Chair of the Board of Trustees, Museum of the Home

Aerial Drawing of the Museum of the Home Site in Hackney, East London

Sectional drawings before and after reveal how Wright & Wright's retrofit approach achieved increased space for the client

Section drawing of the Museum of the Home before and after Wright & Wright's renovation, exhibited at the 2020 Royal Academy Summer Exhibition

Ground floor plan of the Museum of the Home, Wright & Wright

This synthesis of new and old chimes with a reframed curatorial approach intended to make the Museum more appealing to a wider audience by addressing contemporary domestic issues, such as homelessness and fluctuating family structures. The architecture reflects and affirms the Museum’s reconceptualised identity, which aims to present a more nuanced understanding of the idea of home and how it shapes social relations.