Anatomy Museum, Strand Campus
The Anatomy Museum is managed by King’s Venues.
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The Anatomy Museum accommodates a wide range of activity, from teaching to a programme of public events. Subject to availability, the Anatomy Museum may be booked by internal and external users.
The renovation of the Anatomy Museum in 2009 – driven by the Centre for eResearch and the Performance Foundation at King’s – transformed a near-derelict sixth floor area at the heart of King’s into a fully digitised, creative and flexible space well suited to a range of artistic, research and teaching activities.
Today, facilities include a sprung performance floor, immersive screen and sound environment, white wall storyboarding with e-beam facilities as well as software to support thinking, deliberation, and creativity. The space benefits from an adjacent green room, with basic catering facilities.
Background and history
The King’s College London Smirke building on the Strand dates from the early nineteenth century and has Grade I listed status. The significance of these spaces at the heart of London is perhaps only fully apparent from outside in Strand Alley to the eastern side of the Strand campus.
From there one can see the way in which the Anatomy Theatre (1927) has been built above the Gilbert Scott Chapel (1856), which in turn sits above the Great Hall, below which were sited the laboratories once home to the Physics Department. Above the Anatomy Theatre, on the roof, is the old astronomy observatory and the remains of the shed in which Edward Appleton conducted the research on the ionosphere that eventually led to the development of radar in the 1930s. The last anatomical dissection and demonstration took place in the Anatomy Theatre in 1997.
Although in a reduced state many of the original features were still intact a decade later. All required some level of restoration or sympathetic replacement. By restoring the existing facilities and fabric, and installing sophisticated technology, the aim was to produce a space that encouraged collaborations and research across disciplines and domains. Because of the numerous suggested use cases for the Anatomy Theatre and Museum, the technology infrastructure needed to cater for maximum flexibility but not interfere with the beauty of the space and architecture. In order to achieve this, two principal rules were followed in the design: first, maximum flexibility and second, best possible integration into the existing space.
With investment from King’s College Estates and Facilities, the ISS Connected Campus Programme, and the Department of English what became known as the ATM project commenced: design and development took place between May 2008 and May 2009, and the build took place between June 2009 and October 2009. Existing elements of the spaces were refurbished while major roof-light replacements were undertaken in both spaces. An oak sprung dance floor was laid in the Anatomy Museum allowing for safe physical work to be undertaken while Access Grid technology and digital surround sound was designed to enhance the potential acoustic and visual potential of the space. The Anatomy Theatre was fitted with a high definition projector allowing for live feed cinema scale presentations and both spaces were completely overhauled to make them fully accessible for people with disabilities. The anatomy professor’s office was stripped back to its original tiles and converted to provide a small canteen area for the project with refrigeration, washing and food preparation facilities.