Belfast Telegraph

Belfast firm secures £13m deal to refurbish National Army Museum

By John Mulgrew

Construction contractor Gilbert-Ash has landed a £13m deal to refurbish the National Army Museum in London.

It's the latest big contract secured by the Belfast firm, which will see the popular tourist attraction extended.

The company's managing director Ray Hutchinson said he was "honoured to be working on such a prestigious project".

He said: "A complete reconfiguration of the museum site will help develop a more welcoming, accessible and flexible environment to meet the needs of today's museum visitors."

The company is due to start work shortly at the Chelsea site, which was first opened in 1970 and now receives in excess of a quarter of a million visitors each year.

Gilbert-Ash is working alongside designers at BDP - both companies having previously worked on the £165m Victoria Square development in Belfast city centre.

Work has already begun to strip out the existing interior in preparation for the refit and the new-build portion of the project.

The entire project is due to be completed at the end of next year.

The National Army Museum's director general Janice Murray said she was "excited by this collaboration. I am confident that we will produce a world-class museum development which will deliver a fresh, informative and exciting visitor experience for all."

Earlier this month Gilbert-Ash was appointed to carry out a £20m refurbishment of the Bartlett School of Architecture at University College London.

That project will double the amount of teaching and research space available at the Wates House building, while retaining its existing structure.

And in 2013 it put the finishing touches to a £5.75m contract at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's iconic listed building in Whitehall.

It has also worked on a number of big-name and award-winning projects elsewhere in the UK.

That includes the refurbishment of the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall.

It was also the contractor behind the Everyman Theatre in the northern city, which won the RIBA Stirling Prize in 2014.

Gilbert-Ash's revamp of the National Army Museum - which was set up to tell the story of the Army including the personal experiences of soldiers over the centuries - will include a series of new additions such as an extended visitor space, as well as a two-storey section.

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