Reflective Room at The Manchester Museum

Reflective Room at The Manchester Museum

An exciting new temporary structure - Reflective Room – is currently being constructed in The Manchester Museum’s courtyard, due to be completed by 6 July 2010.

It was chosen as the winning design in a competition between 5th year Architecture students from the Prototype and Re_Map studio units at the Manchester School of Architecture (msa).

The Courtyard Project invited the students to design an environment within the Courtyard space outside The Manchester Museum’s entrance to align with the summer programme and exhibitions and to form part of the preparations for the major redevelopment of the Museum’s Animal Life 1 (mammals) gallery, closing in September 2010 and reopening in May 2011. A shortlist of five proposals were selected and developed further, a summary of which you can see on display at the Museum.

Dr Nick Merriman, Director of the Manchester Museum, said ‘Reflective Room is a great example of collaboration between the Museum and the students and staff of the School of Architecture in the University. It will bring real interest to our otherwise rather deserted courtyard, and I very much hope that it will be the first of a series of installations in this space’.

The Design Team from the Prototype unit led by Matthew Mills includes: Adam Atrakzi, Mark Bonshek, Spencer Fretwell, David Kent and Anna Parker.

Inspired by the changes that unfold in the Courtyard over the course of the day, the Reflective Room team designed a new environment in which people can reflect and re-engage with their surroundings. Using everyday materials, including plywood and black glazed ceramic tiles, its design is both subtle and delicate and creates an experiential space. The aim is to utilise the ordinary to create the sublime.

Fabricating a room within the Courtyard space will enable people to sit and relax whilst reviving their awareness of the environment. Enclosing this space will enable the courtyard to be revealed in a less direct way, reducing it to a more accessible human size. Edges, materials, weather and the surrounding environment will become more apparent through subtle reflections.

The Reflective Room was fabricated in the Art and Design Workshops at MMU and assembled by all students involved in the project. It will stand in the Courtyard from July–October 2010.

The Prototype studio unit takes material as a primary resource from which to develop the possibilities of tectonic assembly and the exploration of architectural space. Experimental workshop processes are utilised to investigate ways in which ‘analogue’ hands-on making can inform the use of ‘digital’ contemporary technologies. The unit aim is to develop a material practice that connects thinking and making. The reductive deployment of resources, materials and fabrication methodologies are regarded as opportunities in relation to a sustainable culture. The unit is led by Ming Chung and Nick Tyson of Chung Tyson Architects.

The Manchester School of Architecture was formed in 1996, as an innovative collaboration between Manchester Metropolitan University and The University of Manchester.

Pilkington’s was established in 1891 and is the UK’s largest manufacturer of ceramic tiles. The tiles, which have been donated for the project, are manufactured at the factory and UK Head Office, in Manchester.

Atelier One is an Engineering consultancy committed to creating innovative solutions which are appropriate for and contribute to building design through the close collaboration with the design team.


For more information contact Corinne Leader on 0161 306 1584

The Manchester Museum

As a university museum, The Manchester Museum uses its international collection of human and natural history for enjoyment and inspiration. Working with people from all backgrounds, the Museum provokes debate and reflection about the past, present and future of the earth and its inhabitants.

Over the next year The Manchester Museum’s Animal Life 1 (mammals) gallery will be undergoing a major redevelopment. Looking at issues such as habitat loss, extinction and climate change, the new gallery will reveal how we are all part of the natural world and how we can make a positive difference. The Museum is working with fashion events company, Villa Eugénie, so you can expect the new gallery to look spectacular. The current gallery is very popular with visitors so the focus will be on bringing out its best features and making it even better - revealing more of the original architecture and including even more stuffed animals - not just mammals. Particular favourites such as the Sperm Whale skeleton, Polar Bear and Tiger will certainly be there.

T: (0)161 275 2634 F: (0)161 275 2676 www.manchester.ac.uk/museum
Open: Tuesday–Saturday 10am–5pm, Sunday, Monday and Bank Holidays 11am–4pm with FREE ENTRY

The Manchester School of Architecture was formed in 1996, as an innovative collaboration between Manchester Metropolitan University and The University of Manchester. The msa draws upon extensive teaching and research expertise within both institutions and is set to grow into a leading international centre for research and teaching in architecture and urban studies.

MIRIAD is the Manchester Institute for Research and Innovation in Art and Design based at Manchester Metropolitan University. It is the North West’s leading Higher Education centre for advanced cultural inquiry the study of the creative arts. Reflective Room has received a MIRIAD Research Project support fund.

Pilkington’s was established in 1891 and is the UK’s largest manufacturer of ceramic tiles. The tiles, which have been donated for the project, are manufactured at the factory and UK Head Office, in Manchester. Pilkington’s are committed to continuous environmental improvement. The manufacturing of the tiles does not require the use of materials that are harmful to the environment.

Atelier One is an Engineering consultancy committed to creating solutions which are appropriate for and contribute to building design through the close collaboration with the design team. Through the projects undertaken, Atelier One continues to pursue efficient, aesthetic and architecturally ambitious engineering solutions to enhance the built environment.