The Burrell Collection

Gold Award


Design for Good


Glasgow Life


Glasgow Museums, Glasgow Life


The project encompasses the complete renaissance of The Burrell Collection – from the opening up of the building to the complete re-imaging of the exhibitions and the visitor offer. The Burrell, opened in 1983, an icon of 20th century design is one of Scotland’s internationally recognised modern architectural triumphs. However, it was riddled with difficulties – a leaking roof, problems with physical access and building services, with limited opportunities for display and engagement. The team delivered a profound transformation that put accessibility at the heart of the experience. We maximised visitor engagement, interpreting gems rarely displayed before and increased accessibility. This was all achieved within the spirit and aesthetics of the original vision – expressing a meeting of human culture with the beauty of nature, achieved through fascinating objects set within stunning settings, changing natural light, a beautiful palette of materials and a very special atmosphere. The immediate objective was to save the museum and the collections for the people of Glasgow, ensuring further enrichment to the city over the coming decades. The refurbishment of the Burrell aimed to re-invigorate falling visitor numbers, meet 21st century audience and performance expectations, ensuring visitors have an unforgettable experience. During the refurbishment, a comprehensive consultation programme engaged 15,000 local people, giving insights and opinions which shaped every aspect of the redesign and development of the displays giving visitors a better understanding of the international significance of the collection. In total there are now 225 displays spread across 24 galleries, increasing the public areas by 35%. Displays on the Ground Floor are re-imagined and objects that have not previously been displayed are now given pride of place. The expanded Upper Galleries offer an exploration of the making techniques of the objects, inspiring creativity in visitors. The Lower Level allows visitors a glimpse into the mind of the collector and the extent and richness of the full collection. The museum has a new flexible display system, now fit for purpose – protecting the collection to the highest standards - allowing reconfigurations for rotation of the collection, ensuring the Burrell can be responsive and resilient in the years to come. The Burrell is now an accessible modern, greener museum that welcomes all visitors. Physical access to all areas is significantly improved. There are facilities for visitors with special needs, special interests and a raft of community activities to engage local audiences and content for everyone. The Burrell is singing again.



Iona Shepherd