Last week I had a day out in Oxford, my stepdaughter Star had to deliver her portfolio to the University, so I had time to have a good look and take some photos in the town centre. One of the things that I was keen to see was the Ashmolean museum which had a new building grafted onto it a couple of years ago – it particularly interested me because it can’t really be seen externally, it is all about the internal space.
The museum itself is apparently the oldest in the UK, having been founded in 1683 to display the Universities collections. Consequently the main frontage is very ‘classical’ in design, so any addition was always going to be somewhat ‘controversial’!
As is the ‘norm’ with this style of ‘add on’ it is very obviously new – but it does in my view work very well as a space and has some nice features. In particular the ‘cascade’ staircase and its associated glass walkways.
I believe that if a building has a ‘wow’ factor but then does what it was designed for well, but without you really realising, it is a success. The Ashmolean is such a building. The gallery space is good, but the feature areas have a real presence and make you feel good.
It is well worth a look if you are in Oxford.