On Wednesday 14th December, we were delighted to be announced as a winner in the Kent Design and Development Awards 2016. Command of the Oceans – our new interactive gallery that opened in May 2016, won first place in the Conservation Category.
Command of the Oceans is our latest gallery development costing £9.4m and has been made possible thanks to the generous support of the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Homes and Communities Agency, Arts Council England and a whole host of Charitable Trusts and Foundations. Command of the Oceans reveals the full dockyard story, thrilling archaeology and long-hidden objects for the first time. It tells powerful, compelling stories of innovation and craftsmanship. It shows how Chatham Dockyard and its people helped lead Britain to worldwide influence. It features two internationally significant maritime archaeological discoveries – the timbers of the Namur (1756), intriguingly laid to rest beneath the floor of the old Wheelwrights’ workshop, and an incredible treasure trove of archaeological objects recovered from the sea bed, from the Invincible (1758)
The architectural scheme was led by Baynes and Mitchell architects who have worked alongside a long list of other contractors and consultants to not only conserve the Mast House & Mould Loft and Wheelwrights Shop as part of this project, but also to create a new building linking these two important Scheduled Ancient Monuments together. The new link building unlocks the full potential of these spaces and has allowed The Historic Dockyard to effectively preserve the timbers of the Namur beneath the floor.
The Conservation category of the Design and Development Awards was set up to “reward building projects across all sectors that have applied an innovative and sensitive approach to refurbishment, conservation, and repair and/or reuse of once redundant, threatened or underused historic homes, buildings, bridges or structures such as piers and jetties”.
It is always an honour to be recognised in this way, but it is particularly significant that this project has won this award due to the huge amount of work and effort that has gone into bringing these fantastic new galleries to our visitors. We would like to say a big thank you to all those involved that helped to make this happen. Hopefully this will be the first of many awards for this fantastic new facility.
We hope that many of you have explored Command of The Oceans throughout 2016, but if you haven’t – put it in your diary for 2017!