The Box: What a treat!

What a treat! A group of us were invited by Plymouth City Council to preview The Box before the doors open to the public on September 29th 2020. Having planned to spend about an hour to view the exhibits and admire the architecture, we were still captivated 2 hours into the visit!

“This place is built as a love-letter to the people of Plymouth, as much as anything else, their stories, their history, their memories – and that’s important because we’ve never really done that as fully as we could.”

Councillor Tudor Evans OBE, Leader of Plymouth City Council

Some of the 14 restored British Naval Figureheads, The Box, Plymouth

WWA has been Project Manager and Contract Administrator for the transformation for over 5 years, working tirelessly with an enthusiastic and creative team. This ambitious project has ingeniously combined old and new to create this stunning space. Certainly a complex and challenging undertaking that has involved the renovation of grade II-listed, disused St Luke’s Church into an art space, the extensive refurbishment, extension and restoration of the grade II-listed city library, museum and art gallery, and the creation of a piazza to link it all together.

Plymouth City Council’s Project Manager Caroline Cozens said:

“We wanted to put our incredible archives front and centre of The Box and where these precious documents should be stored formed a key part of the design. Rather than being in a warehouse or in a basement, we wanted them to reflect how important they are by creating something bold and striking. The Box is on a dense inner-city site and the only way to build was up.”

The life-sized model was inspired by a mammoth tooth in The Boxs collections, discovered at Yealm Bridge Cavern on the nearby Kitley Estate. Fossils show that woolly mammoths were roaming around Plymouth 35,000 years ago, alongside bears, cave lions, hyenas and woolly rhinos.

When entering The Box from the piazza you can’t miss the extraordinary collection of 14 historic Royal Navy ship figureheads suspended from the ceiling. The restoration of these monumental sculptures took 2 years to complete and has deservedly won Restoration/Conservation Project of the Year category at the Museums + Heritage Awards 2020.

With 3,500sqm of interactive and fun exhibition spaces there was so much to take in. We particularly loved the incredibly life-like, huge woolly mammoth, the replica of the 17th-century ship, Mayflower and the video clips of Plymouth through the years.

“We are incredibly proud to have been part of this landmark project, from start to finish the project has been delivered by our Plymouth team. Professionals that live and work in the City have put their heart and soul into The Box. It just goes to show that Plymouth has the local skills and expertise to deliver projects of this scale and quality”

Andy Snapes, Senior Partner Ward Williams Associates.

We recommend you go and see for yourself; you won’t be disappointed. Book your tickets here.