RIBA Award

The Smithery, Chatham Historic Dockyard, Kent | van Heyningen & Haward

This is a museum within the museum; its function is to show both building and the objects it houses. The 'falling-down' majesty of the existing buildings has been artfully retained and gently restored. The new exhibition spaces are constructed as seperate elements - highly insulated, air tight, with thermal mass - they require very little beyond minimal temperature control, and low lighting. 
They provide a sophisticated 21st century museum environment, and successfully operate within the conserved, historic fabric. These rendered abstract boxes sit quietly within the stately Georgian shed; once inside, you are within a space that commands no presence and is purely dedicated to the display of the exhibits within. The plain and stark contrast between these two places is dramatic. 

Source: e-architect