Function and Flow at London Museum

The former Commonwealth Institute building in west London began a new life when it opened its doors as the Design Museum.

The 1960s Grade II listed building in South Kensington London had been vacant for more than a decade, before the entire building was subject to a radical refurbishment programme costing almost £90million.

This refurbishment included galleries, auditorium, learning facilities, office space, common areas and bar and restaurant. Two basement levels were also excavated below the footprint of the original building.

With now five storeys and over 132,000sq feet, the movement of visitors, staff and goods throughout the building was key to ensuring smooth traffic flow, unhindered access for all, as well as facilitating efficient exhibition changes.

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LECS (UK), a highly respected independent lift engineering consultancy, was instructed by the facilities team at the Design Museum to consult on several newly installed lifts. These lifts ranged from passenger lifts to evacuation lifts and a vehicle lift. Working alongside Willmott Dixon Interiors, LECS (UK) advised on adjustments to be made to ensure long-term reliability, safety standards were met, and the original design brief is fulfilled.

Lee Dean, consultant lift engineer at LECS UK provided essential specialist knowledge and project management skills to ensure the project was completed to the satisfaction of the Design Museum.

Lee said: “We provided our client with the expertise needed to complete this project in line with the original scope and in full compliance with current standards.

“This is where LECS (UK)’s world-wide expertise in lift and escalator engineering was particularly needed.”

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It is estimated that the lifts in the Design Museum now have the capacity to move in excess of 600,000 people per year.