The Queen's Diamond Jubilee Galleries, Westminster Abbey
Set more than 50ft above the Abbey’s floor in the medieval Triforium, The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Galleries displays the greatest treasures from the Abbey’s collection.
Max Fordham provided M&E engineering, daylight analysis and environmental analysis for the project, as well as lighting design for the Weston Tower. Working closely with Westminster Abbey, MUMA (Exhibition Designer) and Ptolemy Dean Architects, new building services were carefully and sensitively integrated and old services rerouted, in both the Triforium and the new tower, all while the Abbey remained open to the public.
The new Triforium - that houses the Jubilee Galleries - is a spectacular addition that allows the public to deepen their understanding of a royal church which has been at the centre of the nation for centuries. Visitors reach the Jubilee Galleries through a new tower, housing a staircase and lift; the first major addition to the Abbey church since 1745. Designed by Ptolemy Dean, the Weston Tower is built using traditional and new materials, sympathetic to the Abbey’s building style. Twelfth and thirteenth century stained glass found during the excavation of the Triforium vaults has been reused in some of the windows.
Bespoke and finely detailed solutions were often required to avoid damage to the fabric and preserve the unique atmosphere. In the Triforium, hundreds of pipes and cables criss-cross underneath the floor to serve the new exhibition, avoiding the need for a new steel floor structure. The heating is controlled by bespoke aspirating sensors - rather than traditional thermostats, responding to both humidity and temperature. We also provided specialist expertise in daylight analysis for the exhibition space using cumulative exposure techniques in 3D; this gave the curatorial team and exhibition designers freedom to place and position the exhibits safely in the daylit space.
In the Weston Tower, the oak staircase wrapping around the stone-clad lift core is lit only by concealed LED lighting in the handrail, allowing views out at night of the Palace of Westminster through the hundreds of specially treated leaded-light windows.