A Museum devoted to the art and history of gardening has been re-designed and re-housed inside a medieval church adjacent to Lambeth Palace on the River Thames in London. The Garden Museum (formerly the Museum of Garden History) opened it's doors in November 2008, having undergone a dramatic transformation.
The historic structure has been respected and the new elements of the museum are entirely freestanding so that the ancient fabric of the church is untouched. This type of structure is known as a "Belvedere."
In October 2007 a competition was held for the design of a new interior and the winning company was London based architects Dow Jones, who commissioned Mindseye to deliver the lighting scheme for the dramatic building within a building.
Visitors are welcomed to a newly designed interior with a sequence of individual spaces for exhibitions, the permanent collection, education, a cafe and a shop. This free standing timber structure, or Belvedere, creates a contemporary space which includes the first gallery in Britain for exhibitions in garden design.
The lighting essentially falls into two categories: lighting within the Belvedere and lighting attached to the church building but lighting onto the Belvedere. The architect had a strong sense of what the latter should be like, so Mindseye simply helped to develop the specification to ensure maximum energy efficiency and advised on target light levels and the set out required to achieve them. A simple but elegant result was achieved. Where lighting has been incorporated within the flexible exhibition space and learning space within the Belvedere, more specific solutions were required, including track mounted spotlights, wall wash luminaires, ambient lighting, and a lighting control system to allow different pre-set scenes to be recalled.
Mindseye also provided consultancy advice for the main areas of the museum; a series of energy saver Par38 lamps are suspended from the timber ceiling on a regular grid.