Design watchdog praises 'intelligent response' to brief but calls for 'bolder' architectural expression

The government’s design advisory body has praised Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners’ designs for an extension to the British Museum, but called for the architect to be more adventurous.

Cabe said Rogers’ designs were an “intelligent response” to a “difficult brief”; it praised the firm’s “accomplished” stylistic approach and said the building’s internal organisation was “skilful”.

However, Cabe’s design review panel thought Rogers and his team could have been more adventurous in the architectural expression. It said the appearance of the building from Montague Place could be “even bolder in appearance and status” and suggested the that architect explore “different dimensions of the cladding panels”, made from Portland stone and textured glass.

The £135m extension will cover 17,000m2 in the north-west corner of the British Museum site. Rogers beat rivals David Chipperfield, Bennetts Associates and Stanton Williams in a competition as long ago as May 2007, but the designs were only unveiled in April.