British Museum, Elizabeth II. Court

The cleared and roofed-over inner courtyard with the rotunda of the Reading Room in the centre forms the new heart of the British Museum. The fascinating steel-latticed roof has 3,312 triangular glass planes. A crown of luminaires around the upper rim of the Reading Room illuminates the courtyard area and the facades. To enable artifacts in the court area to be highlighted, the luminaires combine floodlight lenses with directional luminaires in common housings.

New light for the carefully restored Reading Room, where once Karl Marx did his literary research: Trion Uplights with 70W HIT high-pressure lamps illuminate the tremendous dome.

The new conference and lecture rooms were relocated by Lord Foster to an underground level. In the foyers, the lighting designer Claude Engle has used directional luminaires and lens wallwashers with halogen lamps. Their light has the quality necessary for optimally reproducing the hues of the stone-clad walls.

Contract: 1994

Commencement of building work: 1997

Completion: 2000

Usable area: 19 000 m2

Building sponsor: British Museum

Others involved in the project:
Buro Happold
Claude and Danielle Engle Lighting
Giles Quarme Associates
Northcroft Nicholson and Neighbour
Sandy Brown Associates

Further information on the British Museum available on:

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