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International Slavery Museum redevelopment

Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios replaces Adjaye Associates for International Slavery Museum redevelopment

British practice Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios has been appointed to lead the architectural design for the redevelopment of Liverpool's International Slavery Museum and Maritime Museum.

The redevelopment is a part of the larger Waterfront Transformation Project and was originally supposed to be led by British studio Adjaye Associates.

However, the studio was dropped from the project in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations against its founder David Adjaye.

The architectural design of the £58 million redevelopment will now be led by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios (FCBS).

It will centre on the Dr Martin Luther King Jr building, which will become the new entrance to the International Slavery Museum, and the Hartley Pavilion.

This will be redesigned to have better circulation and "enhanced" commercial facilities, the museum said.

exterior of International Slavery Museum and Maritime Museum
The museums are located on Liverpool's waterfront. Image (above and top) by Ant Clausen

"FCBS are excited and humbled by the invitation to join the NML team and to lead the architectural transformation of these museums," FCBS partner Kossy Nnachetta, who will lead the redevelopment, said.

"We understand that there is huge responsibility to help create a platform to tell this story, long whispered, yet still awaiting the space to fully express itself; and all the potent, deep-seated emotions it can elicit," she added.

"We hope to help create something bold and yet beautiful. The result of 'many hands' working together with the museums and communities in Liverpool."

The exhibition design for the museums will continue to be led by Ralph Appelbaum Associates, which was appointed in 2022 at the same time as Adjaye Associates.

The International Slavery Museum, which is dedicated to the history of enslaved people, the transatlantic slave trade and contemporary slavery, is currently contained within the Maritime Museum but will be expanded into the Dr Martin Luther King Jr building.

Turning this into the new entrance will create "not only improved visitor orientation and an inspiring welcome, but also a stronger sense of purpose and identity for the museum," the museums said.

Image of FCBS team
The redevelopment will be led by Kossy Nnachetta (centre) at Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios. Photo by Pete Carr

FCBS' redevelopment will be led by Nnachetta, supported by Geoff Rich and Peter Clegg. The firm completed the original masterplan for National Museums Liverpool, the public body responsible for the museums, in 2019.

"To be bringing two such visionary designers [FCBS and Ralph Appelbaum Associates] with international reputations to the project represents the bold ambition and thinking behind it," National Museums director Laura Pye said.

"We are delighted they're keen to embrace this as a co-production project which we feel will create something truly ground-breaking," she added.

“There has never been a more important time to address the legacies of the transatlantic slavery and the redevelopment of the International Slavery Museum symbolises our, and our region's, commitment to confronting the significant role the city played in British imperialism."

The museum redevelopment was one of a number of projects that Adjaye Associates was dropped or stepped down from following accusations of sexual assault by Adjaye.

"National Museums Liverpool has taken the decision to terminate the contract with Adjaye Associates (AA)," a spokesperson for the museum told Dezeen at the time.

"We would like to thank the AA team who have worked hard to bring the International Slavery Museum and Maritime Museum transformation project to a developed design stage," it added.