London’s Museum of Natural History has been housed in Alfred Waterhouse’s ornate Romanesque structure since 1881, and has become inextricably associated with the historic building. A two-phase extension, known as the Darwin Center, was completed in 2009. A transparent metal and glass ‘box’ designed by HOK provides a geometric regularity which complements the original structure. This addition sits alongside the Waterhouse building in sedate companionability despite its large scale.
But inside is an eight story, biomorphic concrete “cocoon” designed by C. F. Møller. No windows admit views into the interior of the cocoon; rather, its enormous and complex sculptural form is the object of focus within HOK’s glass showcase.