Aberdeen Art Gallery Redesign Claims Crown of ‘Scotland’s Best Building’


The redesign and expansion of the Aberdeen Art Gallery won the title of Building of the Year in Scotland.

The £ 34.6million overhaul of the A-rated Victorian monument has been hailed as an ‘outstanding example’ of how existing public buildings can be reused in the face of climate change.

The project included the creation of a copper-clad rooftop extension where traveling exhibitions, including a show that fashion designer Zandra Rhodes just opened, can be held.

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The redesign, which opened up perspectives throughout the building and in the city center, also allowed the gallery to increase the number of exhibits from its own renowned collection from 300 before the start of the project to more than 1 000.

The transformation of Aberdeen Art Gallery took four years. Image: Gillian Hayes

Visitors can find works by leading Scottish artists Henry Raeburn, Joan Eardley, Samuel Peploe, Rachel McLean, Bill Gibb and James Cromar Watt, as well as nationally and internationally renowned artists including Barbara Hepworth, Francis Bacon, Tracey Emin and Claude Monet.

The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS), which hosts the Andrew Doolan Best Building in Scotland Award, described the gallery redesign as a transformation of one of Scotland’s leading cultural institutions and made it ‘more welcoming, more sustainable and more accessible ”.

The gallery project was honored ahead of the transformation of a former egg shed in Argyll into a new community center and tourist attraction, a new University of Edinburgh building for artificial intelligence research, a huge box chain mail created to protect a masterpiece by Charles Rennie Mackintosh in Helensburgh, and a new national athletic training center in Inverclyde.

Previous cultural plans to win the ‘Doolan Prize’ include a redesign and expansion of the world’s first Andrew Carnegie Library in Dunfermline and the conversion of an old building in Glasgow into new studio spaces for artists and creative businesses. .

The transformation of Aberdeen Art Gallery was overseen by Hoskins Architects.

Hoskins Architects was honored in 2011 for the transformation of the original Victorian building of the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh.

Aberdeen Art Gallery, which opened in 1885, was closed for four years from 2015 for its biggest redesign ever.

Christina Gaiger, President of RIAS, said: “The Aberdeen Art Gallery is an exceptional building and a very deserving winner.

“Hoskins Architects has brought a piece of Scottish heritage into the 21st century with humility, skill and sensitivity. In the face of the climate emergency, how we improve, respect and adapt our existing building stock is absolutely crucial.

The new Aberdeen Art Gallery building.

“At Aberdeen Art Gallery, we have an outstanding example of how a public building, through talented architects and far-sighted clients, exemplifies the intelligent reuse of an existing building, as part of a collective regenerative response to change. climate.

Hoskins Architects Director Chris Coleman-Smith said: “The Doolan Award is Scotland’s most important architectural award and we are delighted that the Aberdeen Art Gallery has been recognized as the best building.

“The team did an exceptional job in subtly and sensitively restoring the original features of the 19th century building and improving the performance of the fabrics, as well as confidently modifying and boldly adding new elements that enhance the visitor experience, weaving a thread of careful conservation and the demands of a world-class gallery of the 21st century.

“This special award is a testament to the effort and commitment of the many people involved in the design and delivery of this fantastic project over the years.”


William E. Bennett