Southampton-based marine and structural consultant engineer Gifford is collaborating in the construction of a museum in Portsmouth’s historic dockyard to house the Tudor warship Mary Rose.
The Mary Rose Trust has been awarded a £21m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to complete the conservation of the Mary Rose and build a permanent museum. The museum has been designed by a team comprising Wilkinson Eyre Architects, Pringle Brandon and Land Design Studio in collaboration with Gifford. It will reunite the ship’s preserved hull with many thousands of artefacts previously unseen by the public for the first time in 500 years.
The plans for the new purpose-built museum come 25 years after the hull of the Mary Rose was raised from the bed of the Solent. The Marie Rose Trust said it selected the design team as it brings together technical expertise, creativity and specialist knowledge necessary to realise the Trust’s vision.
The building will be positioned over the dock, itself a Scheduled Ancient Monument , where the ship is currently undergoing conservation. The design has been developed to maintain as much visitor access as possible, balancing the specific conservation conditions necessary to preserve the ship with the requirements of a visitor attraction.
The hull will remain on its original recovery cradle and will not be moved from its current position in the dry dock. The ‘hotbox’, in which the ship will be kept sealed until the conservation process is complete in 2016, will form part of the exhibit, allowing visitors to see the ongoing wet and dry conservation through viewing ports from each of the new deck-level galleries. On completion of the air-drying phase of the hull conservation, the hotbox enclosure will be removed, allowing visitors to see the Mary Rose’s original timbers, with her contents displayed in context within the virtual hull.
The design team is working to complete the building schedule in time for opening in 2011, in celebration of the 500th anniversary of the first voyage of the Mary Rose.