Architect Wilkinson Eyre is to enclose the Mary Rose warship in Portsmouth in a concrete shell roof measuring 80 × 34 m.

The cover, prefabricated as a single piece, will cover a £23m museum building designed by Wilkinson Eyre Architects and structural and services engineer Gifford.

The challenge will be to build around a plastic temporary enclosure in which the surviving half of the warship's timber hull is being continually sprayed with a preservative solution.

In Wilkinson Eyre's design a "virtual hull" of cast glass will sit alongside the real hull, housing many of the 19,000 items of the ship's contents, including cannon, long bows, pewter plates and surgeon's implements. A central gangway on each floor will allow visitors to view the hull remains on one side and its excavated contents on the other.

A virtual hull will house cannon, long bows, pewter and surgeon’s implements

Chris Wilkinson, director of Wilkinson Eyre, said the building evokes an oyster shell or jewellery casket with a low roof in deference to Nelson flagship Victory berthed alongside it.

Pringle Brandon is the interior architect, Davis Langdon the project manager and quantity surveyor and Land Design Studio the exhibition designer.