The Box


Project Details


    Plymouth City Council


Willmott Dixon



Project Summary

Willmott Dixon’s track record for restoring Grade Two listed property and creating heritage attractions has been further underlined by delivering a landmark that celebrates Plymouth’s role shaping world history.

The Box is set to be one of the largest new multi-disciplinary arts and museum spaces when it opens, housing Plymouth’s most important heritage collections on one site.

It will include 2,177,519 items that capture all kinds of local history; the heaviest is a two-and-a-half tonne ship’s figurehead, King Billy, with the smallest a feather-winged beetle, the size of a full stop. They tell the stories of our nation and also include the UK’s most significant collection of explorer materials, the Plymouth Bomb Book, as well as holding the UK’s largest regional film and television archive – 250,000 individual films.

The Box features five permanent galleries, five exhibition spaces for local and national touring exhibitions and six spaces for specific artistic projects.

Galleries will celebrate and explore subjects such as Plymothians who have been influential on the world stage, the city’s relationship with the Royal Navy, life in Plymouth below the waterline, Plymouth’s prehistoric landscape and the West Country’s artistic legacy, including Sir Joshua Reynolds, the Cottonian Collection and the Newlyn School of Artists.

The Box is so much more than a construction project – it’s an opportunity to bring Plymouth’s past into the present and create a legacy for the future. In addition to delivering the fantastic building, we are delighted that the project has provided 1,325 weeks of work for apprentices, provided over 28 weeks of work experience, and inspired the next generation of construction professionals through 23 school engagements.

We are very proud to have been involved in this landmark project that supports and preserves Plymouth’s history and culture for new generations as well as providing an iconic attraction for visitors.

Our original buildings have some beautiful features that we absolutely wanted to retain and I think we’ve done a wonderful job of balancing this with creating a new space that will safeguard our collections as well as be bold. We are marrying conservation with innovation and the result is stunning.