We are pleased to announce that our recent galleries project at the Imperial War Museum, London has just been awarded the Museums + Heritage Permanent Exhibition of the Year Award. We are very proud to have been involved with such an important development and to have worked closely with such a well-established and engaged design and client team.

What the judges said:

“An outstanding game-changing, global exhibition, with decolonisation at its forefront. Embracing many difficult stories, juxtaposing them and blowing apart the traditional narrative. The Second World War and the Holocaust Galleries literally and figuratively, bring global and personal stories of humanity and inhumanity, into the light.”

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Image Credit: Museums + Heritage Awards


Ealing Allotment Partnership: Grow The Universe

After a successful collaboration last year with Ascott Allotments, winning ‘Best Community Allotment 2021’ at RHS Hampton Court, we jumped at the opportunity to get involved again this year.

The team decided to go bigger this year, by involving reps from allotments across Ealing, to share ideas and work together to produce a garden truly representative of the diversity of people and ways of growing found in this West London borough. Ealing Allotment Partnership is a community-led group, working with Ealing Council, on behalf of all allotment tenants in the borough. EAP represents 45 allotment sites and aims to develop community involvement, offer mutual support, raise funds and generally improve all sites within the borough.

The design for 2022 is entitled ‘Grow the Universe’ and incorporates elements which are important to us at this time and are symbolised by the Mandala – a geometric configuration of symbols used in various spiritual traditions as a focus for meditation, a beautiful art form and a living tradition used in everyday life and at important celebrations.

While looking out to the wider universe, the show garden is very much rooted in the allotments of Ealing with most of the plants having been grown by allotmenteers across the borough and materials borrowed and sourced locally. Upholding the values of ‘grow locally’ and ‘involve the community’, all the plants and materials will be re-used after the show in Ealing allotment sites - a truly sustainable garden.

We are very much looking forward to the finished product and wish our allotment friends good weather and good luck for the growing season.

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DJA celebrated Christmas together with a visit to the Second World War and Holocaust galleries at the Imperial War Museum. It was a great opportunity for the whole office to experience the spaces out of hours and for those involved with the project to present their work to the team.

We enjoyed a meal at the wonderful Garden Museum, where our tradition of sharing hand-made ‘Secret Santa’ gifts was fulfilled; with a huge variety of individual artistic and creative talent was on display.

From everyone at Dannatt, Johnson Architects we wish you a very happy and healthy Christmas and look forward to seeing what 2022 has in store!

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We were delighted to attend the private opening of two newly completed permanent exhibitions at the Imperial War Museum in London, which will be open to the public from 20th October.

The new Second World War and Holocaust galleries implement phase two of the Foster and Partners masterplan for site, which had commenced with a major refurbishment of the atrium and creation of new First World War galleries at the lower level of this Grade II listed building.

DJA were appointed together with our own sub-consultant team of structural and services engineers AECOM and Steensen Varming and acoustic consultants Sound Space Design to design all of the basebuild works required to create the new spaces for these exhibitions across two levels of the building, working closely over the last 5 years with both teams of exhibition designers and IWM’s curatorial and project leadership.

This BIM Level 2 project involved major structural and services interventions to create nearly 3000 square meters of gallery floor space through a combination of a new floor structure inserted into the former cinema and the interconnection and conversion of existing gallery spaces, back of house storage spaces, conference spaces space and former education spaces. The structural work in the cinema required over a year to complete the necessary demolition and major structural alteration works, and these took place directly beneath the existing Holocaust Gallery on Level 3, and directly above the First World War galleries on Level 0, both of which remained fully open to the public throughout the entire course of the project. The services work also involved provision for complex temporary services works building-wide to ensure that the building could remain open throughout.

The new galleries build upon the high standards for narrative-based museums set by IWM. The Second World War Gallery (Exhibition Designer: Ralph Applelbaum Associates) provides IWM London for the very first time with a complete exhibition exploring the course of the Second World War from its beginnings to its conclusion, detailed in its full global context and importantly, in parallel with the historical course of the holocaust, which at one point is linked with this exhibition through a double height space connecting the two galleries around a single artefact linked to both narratives. The look and feel of this gallery connects directly to the First World War gallery on the level below, but there is a much greater emphasis within the new exhibition towards connecting artefacts to the personal stories of individuals experiencing all aspects of a global conflict that was of unprecedented scale in all of human history.

The Holocaust Gallery (Exhibition Designer: Casson Mann) sets out the course of the history of the Holocaust from the 1930’s to beyond the Nurembourg trials, ending with an exhibition of survivor testimonies. This new exhibition, informed by the vast amount of new scholarship and study that has taken place since the creation of the previous exhibition, is brightly lit and created as a set of overlapping spaces in shades of blue. This, together with the use of compelling video pieces showing the sites of atrocities as they are today in their natural beauty makes the point that these events did not happen in the shadows. There are personal stories both of victims and, importantly, perpetrators ranging from the familiar to the great many unknown and often unremarkable individuals who became the instruments of this Nazi programme of unspeakable horror.

If you’d like a preview of the exhibition, IWM have released a short video which can be seen here: https://www.iwm.org.uk/preview-of-new-second-world-war-and-the-holocaust-galleries

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Our celebration of the life and varied works of Trevor Dannatt RA is currently being exhibited as a part of the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition 2021. Trevor was also an artist in addition to his considerable accomplishments as an architect and teacher and made a point of contributing sketches, drawings and paintings every year to the Summer Exhibition, which raises funds for the RA’s own post-graduate School of Art through the sale of the artworks shown.

Exhibited together with a bronze bust sculpted by Aidan Crawshaw are three models by his own hand; each representative of a different strand of artistic exploration, just as his architecture always sought to combine and drawn on conceptual and diverse artistic ideas in its resolution of architectural needs.

Alongside this are several hand-rendered architectural drawings, indicative of his era-spanning career in which he created an undeniably modern architecture that was nevertheless imbued with respect for traditional techniques and materials.

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Dannatt, Johnson Architects are proud to have worked for Historic Royal Palaces with garden designer Pip Morrison to complete the architectural detailing, conservation design and specification of the paths, walls, pond and plinth in the sunken garden at Kensington Palace to create the setting for the installation of the new statue of Diana Princess of Wales.

The statue was created by Ian Rank-Broadley and was unveiled on the 1st of July by Prince William and Prince Harry.

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Photo Credit: Historic Royal Palaces

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Photo Credit: Historic Royal Palaces

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Photo Credit: Historic Royal Palaces

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It was great to see each other again for the first time in 15 months today at RHS Hampton Court! It was also incredibly exciting to see the award winning allotment, which we had the honour of assisting Friends of Ascott with.

Collaborations of this kind are so rewarding as they provide the opportunity to bring together and share a wide array of skills and learn from the experience of others involved.

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Ascott Allotment: Growing More Than Just A Plot

We recently collaborated with Ascott Allotments in their successful bid to showcase at RHS Hampton Court 2021. Ascott Allotments has existed for more than 170 years. It is the second largest allotment site in London, with over 250 individual plotholders (including our very own David Johnson) spanning 12 acres amidst a dense, urban area in Ealing, West London. We thought this was a great community project and we were keen to support it by contributing design advice and by drawing up the resulting proposal for submission to the judging panel.

The show allotment aims to exhibit and portray how allotments can grow connections between generations, cultures and experiential divides; particularly after such a disconnected year. For many, during this last year, the allotment was one of the only ways individuals could see others outside of their households and, while still distant, those connections and having a natural space from which to escape from the news and anxiety, proved essential. We had found ourselves thinking about these sorts of ideas earlier in the year, whilst drawing up an ‘ideas project’ called ‘Space That Works’ (also located in Ealing) that we later submitted as an entry to the RA Summer Exhibition. Both projects were conscious to invest in the interconnected nature of Ealing’s green space ecosystems and aim to be in tandem with the management of biodiversity across the Borough and beyond. They also both focus on how shared experiences and space can build communities and improve social capital within an area.

The final proposed scheme includes: upcycled materials representing the respect for finite resources and ‘can-do’ attitude of many on the allotment; a conversation deck and community board to emphasise the theme of connection and knowledge sharing; a water feature, bird boxes, pollinator gardens and bird feeders (all made from reclaimed materials, by the plotholders) to communicate the importance of nature and its conservation; a story circle to encourage the development of the next generation of the allotment community; and a diverse range of edible plants grown in varied ways to show the vast opportunity for all to grow whether that be on an allotment or in a window box. We are very pleased to announce that the proposal was accepted and is due to be shown in this year’s show in early July. You can learn more about Ascott Allotment, their work and their progress with the garden here.

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It is with sadness and a deep sense of loss that we pass on the news that our founding Partner, Trevor Dannatt, died peacefully at home on Tuesday morning at the age of 101 years. Trevor was a great friend, a mentor and an inspiration to us all, and many of us in the practice first met him when we were still students of architecture. We have vivid memories of Trevor’s spectacular musical Centenary celebration last year held in St.Alphege’s Church, Greenwich, which was attended by so many well-wishers and life-long friends and colleagues. Trevor continued to play an active role in the office into his nineties and after that continued in his unstinting support of the Royal Academy of Arts and in his lifelong passions for architecture, drawing, painting, music and poetry, right up until the end. He will be greatly missed.

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Our Collections Store for the National Museum of the Royal Navy has recently featured in a video on their social media. Its great to hear that the building is working well for the curators and conservators at the museum.

See the video by clicking on the link to their page below:

The National Museum of the Royal Navy | #MuseumFromHome | Storehouse 12

Have you ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes at a National Museum? Take a look at the video below which tells you all about our brand new Collections Store - Storehouse 12. #NMRN #NavigateTheNavy #MuseumFromHome

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