Architecture for art's sake

November 5, 2009

The Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology, part of the University of Oxford, is the oldest public museum in the country. When it opened in 1683, it brought together a collection that had already existed for half a century.

Since 1845, the collection has been housed in an elegant Neo-Classical building designed by Charles Robert Cockerell. However, regular acquisitions from across Europe and the Mediterranean have meant that the museum has long required extra space. Now the building has been radically transformed, with a new structure designed by the architect Rick Maher replacing all previous additions.

The modernisation scheme, which took ten months to complete, has doubled the display space, creating 39 new galleries, a purpose-built education centre and study centres.

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