Modernist development at British Museum will destroy key period details, say critics

A plan by the British Museum to build a £130 million exhibition centre in its northwest corner has provoked anger from heritage groups that claim it will destroy some of the 19th-century building’s most beautiful period details and vistas.

The ambitious scheme for the rear of the building in Bloomsbury, Central London, would provide 17,000 square metres (183,000 sq ft) for shows and conservation.

The museum has become the country’s most popular cultural attraction drawing more than six million visitors last year. It claims that with more space it could have accommodated “many times” more than the 160,000 paying visitors who enjoyed its recent Michelangelo exhibition.

It has commissioned Lord Rogers of Riverside to design a series of pavilions to replace the British Library’s former offices in Montague Place, but heritage groups say that the modern design will have a detrimental impact on Robert Smirke’s original building as well as its views over Georgian London...

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