The museum will be part of the £7.2m Being Brunel project, which explores the works of 19th century engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel (1806-59).
Beard is working with Alec French Architects on the new two-storey building which will lie alongside Brunel’s historic ship SS Great Britain, one of Britain’s top-rated museums. The project is due to start construction in November 2016 and complete in February 2018.
The new Brunel museum has been designed to reflect the façade of original buildings that would have flanked the SS Great Britain as she was constructed in her dry dock in 1840.
Beard will construct a harbour-side building that will connect to the historic Dock Office and Brunel’s Drawing Office via a first-floor walkway. Working within a historic dockyard, Beard will build a steel-frame exhibition hall with multiple gallery spaces and a mezzanine level, as well as a cafe.
“It’s a tremendous honour to be involved in the preservation of Brunel’s great legacy through this fantastic interactive new museum which, when completed, will bring Brunel’s genius and extraordinary mind to life,” said Beard Bristol construction director Mike Hedges. “This is a complex project where our construction team will be working within a historic dockyard alongside the iconic SS Great Britain, which will remain open to visitors during the building works.”
The contract award for Being Brunel, the national Brunel museum, follows Beard’s recent completion of a new visitor centre at Clevedon Pier in Somerset, the UK’s only operating Grade I-listed seaside pier.