This second phase of the Darwin Centre extension was designed around the architectural
concept of a ‘cocoon’ to house the museum's unique collection of 17 million insects
and three million plants, as well as working laboratories for 220 scientists from
all over the world.
The vertical transportation is nine lifting devices, not a large number of units
but unusual in that only two of them are similar. One platform lift, in the David
Attenborough Studio, has automatically opening glazed doors while the other has manually
opening stainless steel ones. There are two firefighting lifts, but the large one
doubles as a goods lift and requires a machine room, while the other is ‘machine
room-less’ due to its smaller capacity. There are two hydraulically driven lifts
— one is scenic, one is not.
The other two scenic lifts form part of the ‘Visitor Experience’ tour, all controlled
by a single button in the car — they collect visitors at the 1st floor, travel to
the start of the tour at the 7th and unload, drop down empty to the 5th to collect
visitors at the end of the tour, take them to the Ground exit level and return empty
to the 1st to start again. They are also part of the ‘flow control’ of the tour,
with two contract speeds manually switched by Museum staff to give longer journey
times and hence avoid queues at the 7th — the audio presentations en route vary depending
on speed and direction.
A very interesting project in a very public setting.
Natural History Museum
C F Møller
Seven new lifts and two new platform lifts in the extension to the original Museum