Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

Architect: Rick Mather Architects
Client: Ashmolean Museum

Entered through the 19th century Cockerell façade, the eye is drawn to a day-lit space beyond. This central atrium, modest in plan yet dramatic in section, rises through six floors and provides excellent light quality even at the lower ground level, while avoiding levels that could damage exhibits. The pellucid light washing down the atrium bathing polished plaster walls, has an almost surreal quality. The visitor route navigates a way through a clever interleaving and interconnection of double and single height spaces that creates a rich spatial journey.
The building has virtually no external walls but seven different party walls. Yet this is by no means ‘mere’ interior architecture. Rather it is the culmination of a working lifetime spent by the architect refining the detailing of galleries, houses and restaurants to create a deeply satisfying series of interlocking spaces. This is a world-class building.

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