Transformation of Scottish National Gallery begins as planning is approved
  Resource:artdaily   2016-09-05 14:51:05  

The National Galleries of Scotland announced that the major project Celebrating Scotland’s Art has begun this week after the City of Edinburgh Council formally approved the planning applications.

The £16.8 million extension will radically improve access to the National Gallery of Scotland’s world-class collection of Scottish art. The Scottish rooms, Print Room and Library in the Lower Level of the Scottish National Gallery (SNG) closed this week to allow for the preparation of the building. Actual construction work will commence on site in spring 2017 and will continue until autumn 2018. The new spaces will open to the public in early 2019. During the renovation, the SNG will remain open to the public with access to rooms at the ground and upper levels.

Michael Clarke, Director of the SNG and Project Director commented: “We are delighted that we can now move forward with this exciting development. I would like to thank the City of Edinburgh Council for their support of this project which will truly transform this site at the heart of Edinburgh and enable new audiences to enjoy the magnificent Scottish art collection.”

The planned redevelopment of the Scottish National Gallery, will triple the exhibition space available to the Scottish collection from 440 m to 1320 m, vastly improve visitor access and circulation throughout the SNG complex, and create a more sympathetic setting and entrance for the SNG within East Princes St Gardens.

One of Scotland’s leading architectural practices, Hoskins Architects, which has been widely praised for a number of high-profile designs in the arts and cultural sector, was appointed to the project in 2014. Before his untimely death earlier this year, the firm’s founder, Gareth Hoskins OBE, created an outstanding design, which is being taken forward by Director Chris Coleman-Smith.

Designed by the celebrated Scottish architect William Henry Playfair (1790-1857) and situated right in the heart of Edinburgh, the SNG is the most popular UK art gallery outside of London, attracting over 1.4 million visitors in 2015/16. It is home to the world’s finest collection of historic Scottish art, rich in the works of incomparable artists such as Allan Ramsay, Sir Henry Raeburn and Sir David Wilkie, as well as many, many others.

The completion of this project will give this wonderful resource the prominence it deserves, and enable the NGS to engage visitors and highlight the history, significance and impact of Scottish art, both nationally and internationally, to a much wider audience.

During the redevelopment and on opening, there will be an extensive programme of activity, which will give the National Galleries a chance to involve the community in the project and dramatically improve learning opportunities, especially for schools and families.

The Heritage Lottery Fund announced a £4.94 million grant towards the project earlier this year.

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