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Swelling visitor tide after RIBA prizes

by Natalie Vincent Fri 20 April 2018, 10:11 am

The Historic Dockyard in Chatham saw a 10% rise in visitor numbers since summer 2017, which it credits to an exhibition building being shortlisted for a prestigious architectural prize.

Museum Sq to HMS Gannet The Historic Dockyard Chatham by James Brittain

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) recognised the Command of the Oceans installation, created by Baynes and Mitchell Architects, for updating the Chatham Dockyard’s historical buildings, in particular creating an underground gallery housing the Namur ship.

The building was awarded RIBA South East Regional Award 2017, RIBA South East Conservation Award 2017, RIBA South East Building of the Year 2017, RIBA National Award and was placed on the RIBA Stirling Prize Shortlist 2017.

Bill Ferris, chief executive of the Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust (CHDT), said: "Our visitor numbers increased by 10% and visitor reaction to the building and facilities created has been outstanding.

"The shortlisting recognised 21st century design excellence, something that has been fundamental to the 400-year history of this place as reflected in the heritage building assets and the ships built here."

The increase in visitors comes as CHDT prepares to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the Chatham Dockyard being established there, called Festival 400; the trust will host a 'Medway Day' free to local residents in collaboration with Medway Council’s River Festival, marking 20 years since the public authority was founded.

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