Aberdeen Art Gallery Redevelopment Moves a Step Closer

18 December 2013

Aberdeen Art Gallery's proposed redevelopment has moved another step closer following a decision taken by Full Council on Wednesday 18 December 2013.

The Council has agreed that the listed building consent is referred to Historic Scotland for final determination.

The proposal had been referred to Full Council by the Planning Development Management Committee on Thursday 28 November.

Aberdeen City Council's Chief Executive Valerie Watts said: "Today's news means we have reached an important milestone in the redevelopment of Aberdeen Art Gallery.

"The redevelopment aims to transform Aberdeen Art Gallery and Cowdray Hall into a world class cultural centre, celebrating art and music in the North-east, and to provide a focal point for the creative industries and Aberdeen's Cultural Quarter.

"This redevelopment will see Aberdeen Art Gallery become a modern venue fit for the city's wonderful collection. This ambitious project will breathe new life into an important building so that works which have been unavailable for some time can be displayed in a dynamic and contemporary setting.

"There is huge potential to showcase the arts and culture of the North-east in a way which will not only attract more tourists to the area, but will benefit Aberdonians of all ages as they explore and enjoy their heritage."

Convener of Education Culture and Sport Committee Councillor Jenny Laing, whose committee instructed officers to create a proposal for the redevelopment, said: "Every year Aberdeen Art Gallery attracts tens of thousands of visitors and its redevelopment will inspire and encourage the people who live, work and visit the city to become more involved with an even bigger range of cultural activity and actively pursue their own creativity."

Christine Rew, Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums manager said: "The plans to redevelop the Art Gallery will create an impressive venue in Aberdeen with a new suite of temporary exhibition galleries on the top floor capable of attracting world class international exhibitions. The project will also integrate the gallery and Cowdray Hall, more effectively creating new opportunities for visitors to engage in both art and music. We're looking forward to developing new programmes of activities and displays with our visitors."

Gareth Hoskins, director of Gareth Hoskins Architects said: "We are very excited to have the opportunity to work with the City on the development of what are some of the most significant cultural buildings within Aberdeen. The designs bring together the existing buildings within the Art Gallery complex, along with a series of new gallery spaces to allow more of the City's world class collection to be shown, to attract new special exhibitions, and through this open up the arts to a much wider local and visitor audience.

"Today's decision recognises both the effort that has gone into developing the proposals and allows us to move on with the next stages of realising this transformational project."

In April [2013] the Aberdeen Art Gallery redevelopment proposal was awarded a first-round pass* for funding of £10million from the Heritage Lottery Fund [HLF] for its redevelopment project.

HLF's support includes development funding of £126,200 to help Aberdeen City Council progress its plans to apply for a full grant which will be submitted next year.

The total cost of the investment required is £30million over the next four financial years.

The level and extent of the council's financial commitment to the overall programme includes a sum of £10million to be set aside from the non-housing capital programme [NHCP] for the financial period 2013-17.

It is also anticipated that the Council will raise £10million through other grant funding as well as corporate, philanthropic and personal support. This will be combined with a high-profile fundraising campaign led by Chief Executive Mrs Watts.

The Art Gallery redevelopment is expected to begin in the first half of 2015 with the Art Gallery due to reopen in 2017.

The project architects Gareth Hoskins Architects of Glasgow is an award-winning practice whose clients include the Victoria & Albert Museum, The National Trust for Scotland and the National Museums of Scotland.