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Award winning design team appointed to make PMAG vision a reality

Published: Tuesday, 5th December 2023

A specialist team has been appointed by Stoke-on-Trent City Council to bring top design expertise to the proposed wrap-around extension and re-imagined spaces at the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery.

The contract has been awarded to Armsons Barlow working with Urban Fabric Architects, HBa as services engineers and GW to provide structural and civil engineering services for the project.

The redevelopment is being made possible through a successful bid by the council for a £5m from Arts Council England (ACE) and DCMS Cultural Development Fund – one of just a few grants awarded.

The new extension will create light and welcoming spaces, room to showcase more of the museum’s collections and inspiring teaching and learning spaces. There’ll be a revamped visitor entrance and scope for exciting new ways to tell stories about our city’s heritage through our internationally important collections.

This appointment marks an essential early stage to work up design proposals in detail to ensure they are workable as well as visually exciting. Armsons Barlow and team will consult with stakeholders and interest groups to understand how the museum building is used, how to enhance the visitor experience and make best use of space to house the city’s outstanding collection of art, archaeology, local history, natural science and the world’s greatest collection of Staffordshire ceramics.

The design team bring a wealth of award-winning experience from high profile projects across the country; creating stunning new spaces from existing buildings. This includes leading the design and build of Kresen Kernow, a state-of-the-art archives centre, built in the shell of the former Redruth Brewery in Cornwall, becoming a landmark visitor attraction. The team has also led on the design and development of the Roundhouse site in Derby for Derby College as well as re-purposing the Grade II Listed former New Standard Works jewellery factory in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter for Argent College.

The appointment was made following an open and competitive tender process with selection based on the best value for money, quality and the right expertise as well as social value contribution to the city.

Councillor Jane Ashworth, Leader of Stoke-on-Trent City Council said:

“We’re delighted to have appointed Armsons Barlow working with Urban Fabric architects to re-imagine the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery. The team has an excellent track record in bringing public spaces alive through the remarkable transformation of buildings.

“PMAG is ready for a quality make-over to showcase the city’s world-class collections. The addition of striking new spaces will create a more exciting experience for visitors and provide a focal point to the Hanley Cultural Quarter, adding to Stoke-on-Trent’s status as an international cultural destination.”

Josh Toon, Director at Armsons Barlow said:

‘‘We are absolutely thrilled to have been appointed as Lead Consultant on the re-development of the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery. It is a privilege for our project team to be involved in such an exciting and high-profile project for Stoke-on-Trent. With the Potteries playing such a prominent role within Stoke-on-Trent’s history, it is important that we deliver a scheme that PMAG and the City are proud to showcase.

PMAG redevelopment will be undertaken in phases with the initial phase well underway – moving the City Archives to the museum so the public can access the local history archive and museum collections under one roof. For this next phase, it is expected that the detailed design of the wrap-around extension will take a few months with submission for planning approval in spring/summer 2024. Construction is scheduled to start in 2025.