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British Museum - The Great Court

The central quadrangle of the British Museum in London was redeveloped to a design by Foster and Partners, from a 1970s design by Colin St John Wilson,[1] to become the Queen Elizabeth II Great Court, commonly referred to simply as the Great Court, during the late 1990s. It was opened by Queen Elizabeth II in 2000.

 

The court has a tessellated glass roof designed by Buro Happold[2] and executed by Waagner-Biro, covering the entire court and surrounds the original circular British Museum Reading Room in the centre, now a museum. It is the largest covered square in Europe.[3] The glass and steel roof is made up of 4,878 unique steel members connected at 1,566 unique nodes and 1,656 pairs of glass windowpanes making up 6,100m2 of glazing;[4] each of a unique shape because of the undulating nature of the roof.

 

Controversially, some of the stone in the court is from France, rather than being Portland Stone from southern England as agreed in the original contract with the masons.

 

Within the Great Court, there are shops and a café. The court acts as a central linking point for the museum, somewhat like I. M. Pei's Louvre Pyramid in Paris.

 

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Taken on April 6, 2012