Aberdeen Art Gallery

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  • © Hoskins Architects

Special Award

National Panel Special Award

Application Type

Civic Trust Awards

Level of Award

Special Award

Region

Scotland

Local Authority Area

Aberdeen City

Information about this scheme

The 130-year-old Category-A listed Aberdeen Art Gallery is home to one of the finest collections in the UK, including works by important Scottish artists, designers and makers, as well as internationally-acclaimed artists. In 2009 Aberdeen City Council set out to create a world class visitor attraction that would serve generations of residents and attract hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. Hoskins Architects won the national competition for the redevelopment seeing the number of galleries increasing from 11 to 19, a re-imagined Remembrance Hall, refurbished Cowdray Hall, and an enhanced activity programme. In addition, there are new education spaces; greatly improved visitor facilities, wayfinding, accessibility and circulation; the complete renewal of servicing and environmental control systems; and greatly improved back of house facilities. The completion of this was the culmination of a decade of intensive, creative and collaborative work with Aberdeen City Council; the team at the Gallery; Historic Environment Scotland; a wide range of internationally-respected consultants and specialists; and funders, stakeholders, contractors and visitors. Working closely with Heritage Consultants, Hoskins Architects undertook a process of careful research culminating in a strategy with two main threads – one of careful repair and the other of confident addition. A programme of repair focused on making-good defective fabric and systems, and on addressing the damage done over time. A clear sequence of connections between galleries, and hierarchy between picture galleries and Sculpture Court, was carefully restored and emphasized. Selective demolition allowed for construction of a new ‘backpack’ to house improved staff, art handling, study and education facilities in effective, well connected, but deliberately low-key ancillary spaces located off the principal gallery circuit. More dramatically, the entire roof, in need of complete renewal, was removed, and a striking new copper-clad element built on top of existing granite walls. Housing a further three new galleries this new sculptural rooftop extension is a symbol for the Art Gallery’s rejuvenation and facilitates a programme of regularly changing special exhibitions. The building and its streetscape have now been re-designed to meet the needs of all visitors, creating level access to the Art Gallery from Schoolhill and throughout, as well as incorporating a new passenger lift, accessible toilets on all floors and a Changes Places facility.

Credits

Architect

Hoskins Architects

Client

Aberdeen City Council

Main Contractor

McLaughlin & Harvey Ltd

Structural Engineer

Buro Happold Ltd

Historic Buildings Consultant

Andrew PK Wright

Quantity Surveyor

AECOM

Primary Use Class

Class D1e - Museums