Slightly hidden away, Westminster Abbey has gained a striking new bronze tower that sits well against its ancient stones.
The new tower is functional, as it conceals a new lift and staircase that will enable visitors to get to the new galleries being opened in the Triforium later this year.
The new tower, designed by Ptolemy Dean, the Abbey’s Surveyor of the Fabric (Consultant Architect), is outside Poets’ Corner, tucked between the Abbey’s thirteenth century Chapter House and sixteenth century Lady Chapel. The design takes inspiration from a pattern often found in the Abbey: a star shape derived from two rotating squares.
When it opens, it will give access to the museum galleries, set more than 50ft above the Abbey’s floor in the medieval Triforium, which will display the treasures from the Abbey’s collection and tell the story of its thousand-year history.
Once described as offering the ‘best view in Europe’ by English poet John Betjeman, the Triforium has never before been open to the public.
The total project cost has been £22.9m, all of which has been met by private donors and trusts.
The Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr John Hall, announced today that, the access tower to the Galleries has been named The Weston Tower, after one of the major donors. The name has been carved in the stone of the tower where the visitor will walk across the high-level bridge linking the tower to the Galleries.
The new gallery, and its new tower are due to open on 11th June 2018.