Multi-million pound Art Gallery transformation reaches new milestone

The multi-million pound redevelopment of Aberdeen Art Gallery has reached a new milestone.

Aberdeen City Council’s leaders today (Friday 23 September) visited the site with the Lord Provost of Aberdeen George Adam to mark the occasion.

The principal contractors, McLaughlin & Harvey, have reached the highest point on the building, a milestone which is traditionally marked in the construction industry with a ‘topping out’ ceremony.

The new copper clad rooftop extension, designed by award-winning Hoskins Architects, is a symbol for the Art Gallery’s rejuvenation, provides a striking presence for the Gallery in the city centre and complements the adjacent copper dome of the Remembrance Hall, the highest point in the complex.

The £30million project, which includes a grant of almost £10million from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), is a complete reimagining of the existing site which will become a modern cultural centre in the city.

Aberdeen City Council Leader Councillor Jenny Laing said: “Aberdeen Art Gallery has been a major attraction in the city for decades and is much-loved by our residents. But the Schoolhill complex was no longer able to meet the needs and expectations of modern visitors.

“With the Inspiring Art and Music project we are investing to protect and develop Aberdeen’s artistic legacy. It will not only improve the fabric and condition of these much-loved buildings, it will also celebrate the unique qualities of the Art Gallery, Cowdray Hall and the Remembrance Hall.

“As we reach this construction milestone we are one step closer to realising our vision for the development and in creating a place where Aberdonians of all ages, can come to see fantastic exhibitions, enjoy lively year-round events programmes and explore the remarkable works of art in our care.”

Aberdeen’s exceptional collections of painting and sculpture, archaeology, science and industry, maritime history, costume and decorative art are looked after by Aberdeen Art Gallery and Museums on behalf of the people of Aberdeen.

The wealth and diversity of the collection has earned it Recognised Collection of National Significance status, a scheme which ensures that Scotland’s most important collections are identified, cared for, protected and promoted to wider audiences.

As well as refurbishing the buildings, the work, which is due to be completed by the end of 2017, will increase the number of galleries from 11 to 21, establish a new exhibition space to attract the very best visiting artwork from around the world, provide two new education spaces for learners of all ages and create a stunning new rooftop gallery with roof terraces opening up beautiful views of the city.

Aberdeen City Council Deputy Leader Councillor Marie Boulton said: “As the project takes shape, I can see how amazing this new facility will be for the city of Aberdeen. I hope that the citizens of Aberdeen will be inspired to support our gallery and become part of this exciting new chapter in its history by donating to the fundraising campaign. .

“We have secured funding of £20million and are working hard to achieve the final £10million. You can support the fundraising campaign in a number of ways, from making an individual donation, to becoming a Founder Patron, or making a partnership contribution from a business.”

“These outstanding works art belong to each and every one of us. The revitalised Art Gallery will provide a fit-for-purpose home for them, and also welcoming place in the heart of the city where we can all enjoy the inspiring power of art and music.”

HLF’s Manager for Scotland, Lucy Casot said: “Today marks a major milestone as we begin to see for ourselves Aberdeen’s vision of a world-class cultural centre take shape. Thanks to players of the National Lottery, the region will have a gallery worthy of the exceptional art works it will house.

“It will not only attract more tourists to the area but will benefit the wider community as they explore and enjoy their rich heritage in exciting and dynamic new surroundings.”