23 January 2024

NML International Slavery Museum Consultation

National Museums Liverpool have announced that FCBStudios are the new team leading the architectural design of a £57m major redevelopment of the International Slavery Museum and Maritime Museum.

Our role is to develop the proposals for the Dr Martin Luther King Jr building and the Hartley Pavilion, building on the momentum already generated on this important strand of the Waterfront Transformation Project.

The redevelopment will see the Dr Martin Luther King Jr Building become a prominent new entrance to the International Slavery Museum, creating not only improved visitor orientation and an inspiring welcome, but also a stronger sense of purpose and identity for the museum. The Hartley Pavilion will benefit from improved circulation for visitors with enhanced commercial facilities, including shop, café, events spaces and a dynamic temporary exhibition space.

The national collections of the International Slavery Museum and the Maritime Museum will be elevated and their stories amplified by this major redevelopment. From epic tales of Titanic, emigration and two world wars at the Maritime Museum, to transatlantic slavery, its ongoing legacies and the world’s first modern slavery collection at the International Slavery Museum, these narratives will have new prominence and demand to be heard.
Those whose lives have been most affected by the legacies of historic or modern slavery will play an integral role in the development of both museums.

Laura Pye, Director of National Museums Liverpool, said: “There has never been a more important time to address the legacies of the transatlantic slave trade 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."

Kossy Nnachetta, partner leading the project said: “We are excited and humbled by the invitation to join the NML team and to lead the architectural transformation of these museums. 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. We hope to help create something bold and yet beautiful. The result of ‘many hands’ working together with the museums and communities in Liverpool.”

Throughout the project we will also be working with key members of the University of Liverpool School of Architecture in facilitating the co-production of the designs. The team will include Head of School, Ola Uduku, PhD student Kudzai Matsvai, and distinguished South African architect Ilze Wolff of Wolff Architects. All three have engaged in research and creative practices around the issues of gender, race, slavery, colonialism and imperialism and seek ways to transform society to be more equal, anti-racist and free.

We have previously worked with National Museums Liverpool, completing the original masterplan for its waterfront sites in 2019 and supporting the ISM & MM Project’s bid to the National Heritage Lottery Fund Horizon Programme in 2020.

NML MLK Building and Hartley Pavillion.