The Aberdeen Art Gallery overhaul is crowned “Scotland’s Best Building”



The renovation and expansion of the Aberdeen Art Gallery won Scotland’s Building of the Year title.

The £ 34.6 million refurbishment of the A-Listed Victorian Landmark was hailed as a “prime example” of how existing public buildings can be reused in the face of climate change.

The project involved creating a distinctive copper-clad roof extension that could host traveling exhibits, including a show that fashion designer Zandra Rhodes just opened.

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As a result of the renovation, which opened up a view of the entire building and the city center, the gallery was also able to increase the number of exhibits from its own renowned collection from 300 before the start of the project to over 1,000.

The remodeling of the 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 recognized artists such as 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 renovation as a transformation of one of Scotland’s leading cultural institutions and made it “friendlier, more sustainable and more accessible”.

The gallery project was honored ahead of the conversion of a former Argyll egg pen into a new community center and visitor attraction, a new Edinburgh University building for artificial intelligence research, a giant chain mailbox protecting a Charles Rennie Mackintosh masterpiece in Helensburgh, and a new national sports training center in Inverclyde.

Past cultural projects that have won the Doolan Prize include the refurbishment and expansion of the world’s first Andrew Carnegie Library in Dunfermline and the conversion of a former tenement in Glasgow into new studio space for artists and creative companies.

The conversion of the Aberdeen Art Gallery was overseen by Hoskins Architects.

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

The Aberdeen Art Gallery, which first opened in 1885, closed for four years from 2015 in order to undertake its largest renovation of all time.

Christina Gaiger, President of RIAS, said, “The Aberdeen Art Gallery is an outstanding building and a most deserved winner.

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

The new building of the Aberdeen Art Gallery.

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

Chris Coleman-Smith, Director of Hoskins Architects, said: “The Doolan Award is the premier architecture award in Scotland and we are delighted that the Aberdeen Art Gallery has been named the best building.

“The team has done an exceptional job in bringing the original features of the building from the 19th to the requirements of a world class gallery of the 21st century.

“This special award is a testament to the efforts and dedication of the many people who have been involved in creating and implementing this fantastic project over the years.”



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