The Crafting Colour gallery. © Aberdeen City Council (Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums)

Aberdeen opens revamped art gallery

Simon Stephens, 06.11.2019
The £34.6m redevelopment includes new displays and a temporary exhibition space
Aberdeen Art Gallery reopened over the weekend after £34.6m redevelopment that has hugely increased the items on display and created a new space for temporary exhibitions.

The project to revamp the 130-year gallery, which was much delayed because of challenges with the construction, has seen the number of galleries go from 11 to 19 and items on display rise from 370 to nearly 1,100. The temporary exhibition space is part of a new floor that has been created at the top of the gallery.

“We wanted to show as much of the collection as possible but also to bring international exhibitions to Aberdeen and work with international partners to do this,” said Christine Rew, the art gallery and museums manager at Aberdeen.

“For us a team, the redevelopment has made us think about who we are doing this for and why we are doing it. Everything is not going to be perfect from day one but it is about evolving and changing together.”

The architect for the scheme is Hoskins Architects, which has offices in Glasgow and Berlin, while the exhibition designer is Edinburgh-based Studioarc.

The redevelopment of the gallery was backed by a £10m grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and £14.6m from Aberdeen City Council. The project also received £1m from energy giant BP. Aberdeen has been the centre of Europe’s oil and gas industries for many years.

“Aberdeen has had a long relationship with all the oil, gas and energy companies and many people who live in Aberdeen work with them,” Rew said. “BP has been a major supporter of culture in the city has been a partner since the 1980s. It was a natural fit for us.”

The redevelopment of the art gallery is part of a wider initiative by Aberdeen City Council to transform the city and the surrounding area, including a new events complex near the airport. Next year will see the opening of Provost Skene’s House following a £3.8m project to turn the city centre building into a visitor attraction.

Look out for a review of Aberdeen Art Gallery in the February issue of Museums Journal


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12.11.2019, 22:27
I have to say, having had the chance to visit the redeveloped gallery, it is rather amazing. It is a success and a wonderful new resource for the people of Aberdeen and those that visit.

My only comment would be don't underplay the role of the museum team in this redevelopment. Yes, Studioarc did the design but if you have ever worked in a museum, and one that has gone through redevelopment, you will know the importance of those who know the collections in helping consultants like Studioarc come up with their ideas. Unfortunately I have never seen a review in the MJ that makes this recognition