Paisley Museum Building Renewal, Coats Observatory Scotland, Scottish Textiles
Paisley Museum Renewal
New Architecture Transformation in South West Scotland design by AL_A
14 Jul 2021
Paisley Museum Building Construction
Work begins on £42million transformation of Paisley Museum
Paisley Museum’s £42million transformation is now underway as construction work starts on campus to redevelop the four buildings which make up the site.
Kier is delivering the main works phase on the campus which includes two grade A listed buildings, including Scotland’s first public Observatory. Construction is likely to be completed by late 2022, with the museum reopening to the public in 2023.
This marks a significant step forward in the Paisley Museum Reimagined project – the signature project in Paisley’s radical regeneration which also includes the £22million refurbishment of the town’s A-listed Town Hall and a new learning and cultural hub housing library services on the town’s High Street.
The project will see the overall museum campus grow by 20 per cent delivering a 27 per cent increase in public space and 26 per cent increase in gallery space, allowing for Paisley’s internationally-significant collections to be re-interpreted and the number of objects on display to be more than doubled.
The Garden Gallery, which will be located in a new-build extension housing an accessible visitor reception and café, will deliver a true ‘wow’ moment for visitors with spectacular views and a unique social space connecting the Museum with the outdoor landscape. New images of the Museum’s Garden Gallery and exterior have been released to coincide with the start of construction.
As part of the redevelopment, there will be two dedicated learning spaces, a makers’ space and a revamped heritage centre which will introduce users to its key resources in an engaging way, encouraging interaction, research and participation. Other notable additions to the campus include new facilities such as a revitalised shop, multifaith prayer room, improved access with new lifts and a public courtyard. There will also be a museum café with capacity for 60 covers providing a social space for families, groups and individuals to enjoy. A picnic area will also be located close by.
The museum transformation project is an important part of Paisley’s economic recovery from lockdown, both in terms of the on-site activity that will take place during construction and the increased footfall that will follow when the museum reopens to the public. When Paisley Museum opens its doors, it is expected to attract 128,000 visitors each year from Scotland, the UK and overseas and provide a £79million economic boost to the area over the next 30 years.
Councillor Lisa-Marie Hughes, chair of Renfrewshire Leisure, said: “The beginning of work on site is a major step forward in our journey to transform Paisley Museum into a world-class destination, bringing in visitors from across Scotland, the UK and abroad.
“The project is part of a wider investment by the council in Paisley’s venues to transform the town centre and take the work already done to make the town a key cultural destination within Scotland to a new level.
“The project team have already worked with hundreds of local people and groups to capture their stories. And we will continue to work with neighbours and surrounding businesses to make sure they are involved throughout the project and are ready to benefit from the massive boost this will bring to the town.”
Architects AL_A have radically reimagined the museum and its campus, reshaping it into a cultural hub of discovery, skills development, creativity and innovation. Working with an international team, including exhibition designers Opera Amsterdam, their design will allow the number of objects on display to be increased by 150%.
Matthew Wilkinson, Project Lead for AL_A, said: “The new museum will have a profound impact on Paisley’s future and it’s testament to the commitment and hard work of the whole community that we’ve reached this point. We’re extremely excited to be starting construction at Paisley Museum and to see our ambitious proposals coming to life.”
Kier have worked on a number of high-profile heritage construction projects throughout the UK and are currently helping to deliver the refurbishment of The Burrell Collection in Glasgow.
Phil McDowell, regional director for Kier Regional Building North & Scotland, states: “We know that Paisley museum is important to the local community as well as being a significant cultural destination in Scotland and we are delighted to start on site to expand and transform the building.
Paisley Museum Groundbreaking, L-R – Clive Watson ( Contracts Mangaer at Keir) Matt Wilkinson (Associate at AL_A the Museum Architects), Cllr Lisa-Marie Hughes and Kirsty Devine (Project Director of Paisley Museum Re-Imagined), break ground outside the Museum as Paisley’s transformation of its High Street begins:
Over the duration of the project, we will work collaboratively with Renfrewshire Council and local supply chain partners to deliver this project. As part of our commitment to leaving lasting legacies in areas in which we build, we will also be providing job, training and apprenticeship opportunities.”
The project is being taken forward by Renfrewshire Council and led by a project team based within charitable arts and leisure trust, Renfrewshire Leisure.
The project is being funded by Renfrewshire Council, the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the Scottish Government’s Regeneration Capital Grant Fund.
The museum’s final phase of fundraising is now under way, with the museum website reimagined.paisleymuseum.org showcasing the project’s ambitious vision.
17 Jan 2020
Paisley Museum Building Funding News
AL_A’s reimagination of Paisley Museum gets £3.8m lottery funding boost
Plans to transform Paisley Museum into a world-class visitor destination telling the town’s unique stories, including that of the globally admired Paisley Pattern, have taken a major step forward as The National Lottery Heritage Fund announced £3.8million of support for the project.
The four buildings which make up Scotland’s first municipal museum, including the country’s first public observatory, will be ambitiously re-designed and extended by an award-winning international team, including the architects AL_A and exhibition designers Opera Amsterdam, to create an exciting new experience for visitors.
New and rejuvenated galleries will double the number of objects on display and be fully accessible so that visitors can explore the town’s rich heritage and its part in the story of the famous teardrop Paisley Pattern textile, from the shawls of Kashmir to the haute couture of rock stars. Inspiring learning zones, improved social spaces, a new cafe, shop and cloakroom facilities will add to the Museum’s appeal, as will a new, welcoming entrance courtyard and gardens.
The revamped museum is forecast to attract 125,000 visits a year, almost four times the current numbers, and create a £79m economic boost over 30 years. It is the cornerstone of Renfrewshire Council’s vision to bring new life to the town through investment in heritage and culture.
This has included the opening of the UK’s first publicly accessible high street museum store, Paisley: The Secret Collection, and the conservation and repair of key buildings which make up the town’s historic core through a scheme funded with £2m from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
Commenting on today’s announcement, Caroline Clark, Director Scotland of The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said:
“This project has been driven by the passion of the Paisley community to put their unique heritage on an international stage. With the help of National Lottery funding, new life will be breathed into these heritage buildings giving Paisley’s wonderful textiles and other treasures the prominence they deserve, while also bringing a new confidence to the town.”
Amanda Levete, Director of AL_A, said: “This Heritage Fund grant is testament to the great energy shown by Renfrewshire Council and the people of Paisley, who have worked tirelessly to share their rich heritage of which they are justifiably proud. Paisley Museum Reimagined will show how an ambitious project can have a profound impact on a community and its identity – and how Paisley’s history of innovation, radical thinking and great philanthropy will be used to inspire new generations.”
Councillor Lisa-Marie Hughes, Chair of Renfrewshire Leisure Ltd, said: “We want to thank everyone connected to the National Lottery Heritage Fund for their fantastic support.
“It will help us deliver a world-class museum which will take the town’s unique and fascinating stories to new audiences, showcase Paisley’s internationally-significant collections, and bring new life and footfall to the wider area.
“It will create a new accessible hub at the heart of life in the town for the local community – local groups are already co-producing the incredible stories which will populate the reopened museum, and we look forward to continuing to work with The National Lottery Heritage Fund and others over the years ahead to deliver on that.”
The new museum is expected to open in 2022.
29 Oct 2019
Paisley Museum Planning Permission
Green light for £42m Paisley Museum project as planning permission granted
Designs by international architects AL_A which will turn Paisley Museum into a world-class destination have passed a major milestone – with planning permission now granted for the £42m scheme.
The Category A-listed Victorian building is being transformed into a leading European museum telling the unique stories of a town known around the world for the Pattern which carries its name.
Members of Renfrewshire Council’s Communities, Housing and Planning Board today gave the green light to planning permission for an extension and external alterations plus listed building consent – meaning work can start next year.
The reimagined museum is expected to draw audiences of 125,000 people a year – almost four times current numbers – from Scotland, the UK and abroad when it reopens in 2022.
The designs are produced by AL_A – led by Stirling Prize winner architect Amanda Levete.
In their response to the consultation, Historic Environment Scotland welcomed the proposal, which they described as ‘very positive, well justified’, and said the plans ‘sensitively respond to the building and the requirement to provide step-free access’.
The Paisley Museum Reimagined scheme is the flagship project within Renfrewshire Council’s £100m investment in cultural venues and outdoor spaces – designed to use the town’s internationally-significant cultural and heritage story to change its future.
Cllr Marie McGurk, convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Communities, Housing and Planning Board, said: “The Paisley Museum Reimagined project is at the heart of our bold plans to transform Paisley town centre in the years ahead – we are delighted it was able to pass this important milestone today.
“The designs which have been produced blend the old and the new – they will create a 21st-century visitor experience while preserving a key part of our fantastic architectural legacy, and ensure this much-loved building can stay at the heart of life in the area for generations to come.
“Paisley’s name is already known around the world – and when the museum reopens in 2022 it will allow us to invite the world to come back to Paisley, providing new opportunities, life and footfall for the town centre and wider Renfrewshire area.”
The project is expected to create a £79m boost for the local economy over 30 years, with 138 jobs supported during construction, and 48.5 jobs per year through revenue and visitor spending.
It already includes Round One funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, with funding confirmed from the Scottish Government, and their Regeneration Capital Grant Fund.
Paisley Museum Reimagined Ltd has been set up as a new fundraising company to oversee the project’s fundraising strategy and capital appeal.
The project is being co-designed in partnership with the community – the project team have already worked with hundreds of local people and groups to capture and help tell their stories.
Paisley Museum was opened in 1871, designed by renowned Glasgow architect Sir John Honeyman. The building was gifted to the town by Sir Peter Coats of the Coats family, whose Paisley-based thread-making empire stretched around the world.
Renfrewshire’s collections are among the best in Scotland and include the world’s largest collection of Paisley shawls and pattern books, artwork from the world-renowned Glasgow Boys, one of Scotland’s best collections of studio ceramics, and a unique offering of mediaeval manuscripts dating back to before the Reformation.
Paisley’s collections remain available to the public while the work is happening – at Paisley: The Secret Collection, the only publicly-accessible museum store on a UK high street.
The museum transformation is part of Renfrewshire Council’s investment aimed at using Paisley’s unique and internationally-significant cultural and heritage story to transform the area’s future.
Other current investments in Paisley include turning the town’s Victorian Town Hall into a landmark entertainment venue to preserve its place at the heart of life in the town, a new learning and cultural hub offering library services in a formerly-vacant retail unit on the town’s High St, and an extension and upgrade to the town’s Arts Centre, for which designs have just been released.
6 Sep 2019
Paisley Museum Building Renewal
Location: Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland – south west Glasgow
Design: AL_A Architects led by architect Amanda Levete
First images revealed for AL_A’s £42m Paisley Museum transformation
The first images showing how architects AL_A will transform Paisley Museum into a world-class destination showcasing the stories of a Scottish town whose influence reached around the globe are today revealed.
The museum is undergoing a £42m transformation into a leading European museum telling the stories of Paisley’s people and Pattern, and home to its internationally-significant collections.
When it reopens in 2022, the reimagined museum is expected to draw audiences from Scotland, the UK and abroad – almost quadrupling visitor numbers to 125,000 a year.
The first reveal of images show how AL_A – led by Stirling Prize winner Amanda Levete – plan to restore and reinvigorate the museum, including:
– fully accessible entrance courtyard and a dramatic red glazed entrance hall, creating a dynamic and inviting presence on the High Street and a contemporary face for the museum;
– a new wing to the west of the existing building providing step-free access through the museum up to the Coats Observatory (the oldest public observatory in Scotland), containing learning spaces and with views onto the new museum garden;
– an attractive outdoor garden, creating a new public space for the town, and opening up previously-hidden views of the observatory while reconnecting it and the museum to the town’s High Street;
– internal renovations will improve accessibility and circulation, deliver international environmental standards for gallery spaces and allow the museum to more than double the number of objects on display to 1,200;
– an interactive weaving studio keeping alive the town’s traditional textile skills;
The renovated museum and library buildings will be in conversation with the new. Together they create a cohesive museum campus and a visitor experience of international quality.
Amanda Levete, principal of AL_A, said: “The brief for Paisley Museum is one of the most radical I’ve encountered. Paisley has a proud industrial past and a history of innovation and radical thinking. We have embedded this into our design to create an extraordinary place for the community of Paisley.”
Cllr Lisa-Marie Hughes, chair of Renfrewshire Leisure, said: “Few places of Paisley’s size can claim such global impact – the town created a global fashion icon, was once the centre of the world’s textile industry, and Paisley people have shaped the world for centuries with their creativity.
“The reopened museum will celebrate all of that and more, by using Paisley’s outstanding collections to retell the stories of those people, and give the world a reason to come back to Paisley.
“The museum is central to a wider investment in Paisley’s venues and outdoor spaces, embedding culture and events at the heart of how we are transforming our historic town centre and putting it back on the map as a destination.
“The beautiful images revealed today show how this wonderful historic building will at once be preserved and modernised, and ensure this proud symbol of Paisley’s past is at the heart of its future.”
Professor John Hume OBE, former Chair of the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historic Monuments Scotland, said: “I am thoroughly impressed by the thoughtful and sensitive approach of the architects to a remarkable group of buildings in a critical location for this unique place.
“At a time when there is a real risk of erosion of cultural experience, such interventions are of the utmost importance, and it is fitting Paisley should be at the forefront of what will be not just regeneration but also in the best sense, renaissance.”
The Paisley Museum Reimagined project includes Round One funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the Scottish Government’s Regeneration Capital Grant Fund.
The programme includes turning Paisley Town Hall into a landmark entertainment venue to preserve its place at the heart of life in the town, and finding new cultural uses for former retail units – including a new learning and cultural hub offering library services at the heart of the town’s High St.
More information on Paisley is available at www.paisley.is and www.renfrewshire.gov.uk / @PaisleyIs @RenCouncilNews
Paisley Museum Reimagined Ltd has been set up as a new fundraising company which will oversee the project’s fundraising strategy and capital appeal.
AL_A is the award-winning architecture practice founded by the RIBA Stirling Prize-winning architect Amanda Levete with Directors Ho-Yin Ng, Alice Dietsch and Maximiliano Arrocet. Since its formation in 2009, AL_A has refined an intuitive and strategic approach to design. Collaborating with ambitious and visionary clients, we develop designs that are conceptualised as urban projects not just buildings and projects that express the identity of an institution, a city or a nation.
Recently completed projects include the Victoria & Albert Museum Exhibition Road Quarter (2017) in London, the V&A’s largest building project in over 100 years; MAAT (2016), a Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology in Lisbon, commissioned by EDP, one of the world’s foremost energy companies; Central Embassy (2017), a 1.5 million sq ft luxury shopping mall and hotel in Bangkok on the former grounds of the British Embassy; a 13-hectare media campus and a 37,700m2 headquarters building for Sky (2016) in London; and MPavilion 2015 in Melbourne.
Paisley Museum Refurbishment – Building Information
Conservation Architect: Giles Quarme & Associates
Landscape Architect: GROSS.MAX
Exhibition Design: OPERA Amsterdam
Quantity Surveyors: Gardiner & Theobald
Paisley Museum Renewal images / information from Renfrewshire Council
Location: Paisley, Scotland, UK
Scottish Architecture Designs – chronological list
A recent building by AL_A on e-architect:
Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology (MAAT), Lisbon, Portugal:
photograph courtesy of architects
16 Church Street, Dumbarton, western Scotland
Design: Keppie, Architects
photo : Jim Stephenson
West Dunbartonshire Council Building
Chivas Brothers HQ in Glasgow
photo © Renzo Mazzolini Photography
Chivas Brothers Glasgow
Edinburgh’s Ross Pavilion Competition Winner – wHY architecture
image courtesy of architects
Ross Pavilion Competition Winner
Perth City Hall Building Renovation
image courtesy of architects office
Perth City Hall Building Renovation by Mecanoo
Comments / photos for the Paisley Museum Renewal Architecture page welcome