Aberdeen Art Gallery redevelopment gets under way

16 July 2015

The keys to Aberdeen Art Gallery have been formally handed over to contractors McLaughlin and Harvey of Belfast with work now under way on the £30million redevelopment.

Inspiring Art and Music will see the transformation of the Art Gallery, Cowdray Hall and Memorial Hall through significant investment in the fabric of the buildings, new exhibition and display galleries and improved facilities for visitors.

A Heritage Lottery Fund grant of almost £10million has been awarded for the ambitious Aberdeen Art Gallery redevelopment programme.

Aberdeen City Council has already committed £10million from its Non-Housing Capital Fund towards the overall cost of the project, and there will be a public and philanthropic fundraising campaign for the remaining £10million required.

The project involves new educational facilities to create opportunities for all to learn more about the arts, and the planned sensitive upgrading of the Cowdray Hall will create a fine new performance space for audiences and performers.

The Memorial Hall will also be carefully treated to reflect both its role as a space for quiet contemplation and as a civic space to honour the sacrifices made on behalf of the community.

The programme for the construction and fit-out works to the Art Gallery and Cowdray Hall will enable the buildings to re-open in 2017.

Interior plans include the creation of 21 gallery spaces in place of the existing 11, a 500 square metre space in which to showcase international-quality exhibitions, and a community gallery in a new wing at the rear of the building. Exterior plans involve removing the pitched roofs and skylights behind the parapets of the main building and adding a new storey of accommodation for temporary galleries and a learning zone.

The design for the multi-million pound redevelopment project has been created by awarding-winning designers Hoskins Architects, based in Glasgow.

Aberdeen City Council's Deputy Leader Councillor Marie Boulton said: "The formal hand over of Aberdeen Art Gallery's keys to contractors McLaughlin and Harvey of Belfast is a key milestone in this multi-million pound redevelopment project.

"Through significant investment in the fabric of the buildings we will have new exhibition and display galleries and improved facilities for visitors. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to achieve something really special for Aberdeen and by rejuvenating and improving these much loved buildings, we will create a world-class cultural centre which will celebrate art and music for all."

Michael Kieran, Director, McLaughlin and Harvey of Belfast, said: "We are delighted to have been awarded this prestigious contract and look forward to working closely with the Design Team and Aberdeen City Council to restore and improve this facility. The finished building will provide the city with an Art Gallery that will rank amongst the best in its class."

During the building work at Aberdeen Art Gallery and Cowdray Hall there will be a continuing programme of art and music at Aberdeen Maritime Museum and The Tolbooth Museum. Collections will also be seen at other venues in the city and shire and will go on loan to other organisations in the UK and abroad.

The construction of a Museums Collections Centre in the Northfield regeneration area is also under way which will allow art works and historical objects to be stored during the Aberdeen Art Gallery redevelopment project.

To learn more about the project, which is due to be completed in winter 2017, visit the project blog at www.inspiringartandmusic.tumblr.com