New museum in London

London-based firmTate Harmer has won a competition to design a new museum for The Scout Association at the group’s headquarters in Chingford, east London. Their proposal takes the form of a big, colourful tent that will tell the story of the Scouting movement within an environmentally-conscious structure.

The new museum will be located within Gilwell Park, the first place where Scout leaders were  trained in 1919, and now a Scout Adventure Centre that is home to several national events. The new facility will provide accommodation for these events as well as new activities for both Scouts and the general public.

The focal point of the 1,600 square metre visitor centre will be the structure’s ‘Big Tent’ canopy, made up of a quilt of brightly-coloured Scout neckerchiefs, symbolic of the various troops from around the world. The panels will be made from coated polyester and will span from the perimeter of the central gathering space up to a 15-metre-tall timber clock-and-bell tower. The tent and tower will serve as a beacon guiding visitors through the park’s new heritage trail, while providing stack-effect ventilation for the heritage centre.

The single-storey buildings that make up the complex will be constructed from prefabricated, cross-laminated timber to minimise construction time on site and clad in timber to integrate into the surrounding landscape. The scheme provides for exhibition space telling the history of the Scouting movement, a climate-controlled archive, a new cafe and shop. Opening exhibits will range from founder Robert Baden-Powell’s Rolls-Royce to delicate film and paper items. The project is expected to be completed by 2020.

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