Chichester District Museum, The Novium Building, Sussex Architecture Design

The Novium : Chichester District Museum

New Building in Sussex, southeast England, UK – design by Keith Williams Architects

17 May 2012

The Novium – Chichester Museum

Chichester District Museum


Design: Keith Williams Architects

Work is approaching completion on a new museum in the heart of historic Chichester, West Sussex, designed by Keith Williams for client Chichester District Council. Williams was successful in the 2007 RIBA Competition to design the new museum, which is now known as The Novium. The main building was completed in autumn 2011, whilst the exhibition designed by Event Communications is in progress ready for the museum’s formal public opening, in July this year.

The Novium The Novium Chichester Chichester Museum
photos from architect

Chichester District Council’s ambition for the project centred on the replacement of its existing museum then located in a small 18th Century building, with a much larger building that would more effectively display the breadth of its collection, whilst providing full access to all. The site, a former car park, in Tower Street was chosen as archaeological remains of a series of Roman baths were discovered in the 1970s and it is in line sight of the City’s Cathedral. The baths, part of Roman Chichester (Noviomagnus Reginorum) date from the Flavian period (1st Century AD). The new museum spans the remains of the baths (the hypocaust) which have been incorporated in situ into the main entrance hall and gallery as a permanent exhibit and an intrinsic part of a museum.

The 1,100 sqm building contains galleries over a further two floors, which have been designed to be flexible allowing a mix of permanent and temporary exhibition. The Museum also contains education spaces, restoration, research and staff areas.

The building is clad in pale re-cast stone and is the first part of the Council’s phased plan for this part of the city, which includes a residential scheme also designed by Keith Williams to complete the urban block.

The Novium – Chichester District Museum image / information from Keith Williams Architects


29 Jan 2009

Chichester District Museum

Keith Williams’ Chichester District Museum Gains Consent

At its meeting on 28 January 2009, Chichester District Council granted detailed planning approval for Keith Williams’ project for a new 1,300 sqm district museum and residential project for 26 units in Chichester’s historic core.

Chichester District Museum
picture from architect

Williams said ” It is never easy proposing a contemporary building in any historic city so I am particularly delighted that the project has been approved. Our careful work in explaining our proposals to the community have engendered a greater understanding of the building, and its qualities. We have carefully crafted the project to sit comfortably within its context whilst ensuring that it is invested with a distinct civic sense appropriate to its cultural role in the city”

The site of the Chichester District Museum development, which is close to the City’s Cathedral, is currently a car park but contains the remains of the Roman baths of the city (Noviomagnus Regni). The baths, discovered in the 1970s, will become a permanent exhibit within the Chichester District Museum as part of the exhibitions covering the story of Chichester and its District. In Williams’ scheme the remains will be displayed in situ and become an intrinsic part of a museum with the new galleries stacked above. The museum is an integral part of a broader project including a residential development, also by Williams’ office, which will complete the urban block of which the museum is a key part.

In the original RIBA run competition, Williams was selected ahead of a shortlist which included Panter Hudspith, Tony Fretton Architects, Caruso St John, van Heyningen Haward, and Jamie Foubert.

Development work is underway on the £6.9 million Chichester Museum project with construction due to start in early 2010.

Chichester District Museum image / information from Keith Williams Architects 290109

Keith Williams Architects


Sussex Buildings – Selection

Eastbourne Cultural Centre, Eastbourne
Rick Mather Architects
Towner contemporary art gallery
photo : Richard Chivers
Towner Art Gallery

Peasmarsh House, East Sussex
Hut Architecture
Sussex house
picture from architect
East Sussex house

East Beach café, West Sussex
Heatherwick Studio
Littlehampton Building
photo : Andy Stagg
Littlehampton Building

De La Warr Pavilion, East Sussex

English Architect Studios

Museum Buildings

Buildings / photos for the The Novium – Chichester District Museum Sussex Architecture page welcome

Chichester District Museum