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Museum of Architectural History, Ramsgate

Part 1 Project 2012
Oliver Treves
University of Kent UK
The project invites the design of a museum of architectural history, to house the architectural casts currently on display in the Victoria and Albert Museum. The site is located in the town of Ramsgate, on the North Kent coast, occupying a rectilinear area of approximately 1,800m², which sits adjacent to the town high street, surrounded by a mixture of residential, commercial and public buildings.

Ramsgate was one of the great sea bathing towns of the 19th Century, and adopted classical revival Regency architecture in the form of terraces and crescents, like many of the other prosperous costal towns of the period. During the 1840’s, the gothic revival architect AWN Pugin who had previously lived in the town, built a house, ‘The Grange’, on the West Cliff. Shortly after constructing an adjoining church, St. Agustine’s, Pugin’s new ideas about domestic and ecclesiastical architecture spread throughout Britain and beyond.

The new museum is intended to be a regenerative cultural centre in the heart of the town, where the narrative of the main exhibition charts the architectural history of Ramsgate, from the classical revival to the gothic revival. The casts from the Victoria and Albert Museum provide a reference to original classical and gothic architecture, which in turn provided the inspiration for the developing architectural language in 19th Century Ramsgate.

The transformative narrative of the museum is further explored in the buildings’ response to context. Prescribed views out of the high-level gallery spaces to key historical ‘nodes’ in the wider landscape, such as The Royal Harbour and St. Augustine’s church, offer visual references to the buildings which are significant in the architectural story of Ramsgate.

As well as the main gallery space, appealing to tourists and visitors, the building programme is primarily community focused. A library, auditorium, seminar rooms, workshops and a temporary exhibition space are all intended to be engaging for the wider public, in an educational environment.

Oliver Treves


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