Aberdeen Art Gallery
ARCHITECTURE: Public Building
Aberdeen City Council
In 2009 Hoskins Architects won a national competition for the redevelopment and expansion of the category A listed Aberdeen Art Gallery. The Gallery, Cowdray Hall and War Memorial complex has a significant presence within the city and houses an exceptional collection, particularly of Scottish Colourists and contemporary artists. Completed in October 2019 the scheme delivers various significant alterations to improve the visitor experience, tackling access from the street and public circulation, improving visitor services and greatly increasing display areas.
Throughout, a clear language of grey-timber portals (ranging in scale from door simple surrounds to a new stair clearly connecting the three floors) emphasizes the transitions between spaces and celebrates the reinstated long views and circulation axes, as well as subtly housing humidifiers, controls, and services distribution points to support the completely overhauled environmental control strategies. The renewed coherence of the original gallery spaces, supported by sensitive intervention and recalibration of circulation routes, is a major triumph of creative repair.
In contrast to the more subtle interventions elsewhere, the bold new copper-clad rooftop extension is a symbol for the Art Gallery’s rejuvenation and creates a striking presence for the Gallery within the City. Designed as a new sculptural element in response to the proportions of the existing frontage, the extension achieves the client’s ambitions to create a world-class venue for art and music. The extension makes use of the outdoor rooftop terraces by offering spectacular views across Aberdeen. The space contains a suite of new environmentally controlled temporary galleries, as well as much-needed learning and event spaces, providing bold new interiors that will engage and inspire visitors. These new spaces provide the Gallery with the ability to accommodate large international touring exhibitions with their associated education and corporate events.
Since reopening there has been an overwhelmingly positive reaction to the transformed Gallery with over 100,00 visitors flocking through the doors in the first three months.