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Consent given for comprehensive refurbishment of Glasgow’s Burrell Collection

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April 20 2017

Consent given for comprehensive refurbishment of Glasgow’s Burrell Collection
Glasgow City Council has given the final all-clear to a £66m refurbishment of the Burrell Collection, including the full redisplay of some 9,000 items housed by the cultural attraction.

This will see the existing network of spaces rationalised to improve circulation, opening up all three floors of the building, including its basement stores, to public access for the first time.

Work to the A-listed building will see offices converted into gallery space and a full overhaul of the leaking roof while making better use of a series of landscaped terraces and civic space which links the museum to Pollok Park.

John McAslan, executive chairman of John McAslan + Partners, commented: “The scheme has been shaped by the need to address the strains on the current building, by a need to respond to the works held in the collection, and by a desire to contribute further to the Burrell’s unique setting of Pollok Country Park. This decision will ensure the Burrell Collection maintains its strong significance within Scotland and internationally”.

At present just 20% of the full collection, encompassing everything from late medieval art, Chinese ceramics, bronzes and jades, Islamic pile carpets and French nineteenth-century paintings, is on public display.
A central circulation core will improve access
A central circulation core will improve access
A close-up view of the main approach to the revamped Burrell Museum
A close-up view of the main approach to the revamped Burrell Museum

6 Comments

Nairn's Bairn
#1 Posted by Nairn's Bairn on 21 Apr 2017 at 09:48 AM
Do we know when they intend starting work? I'd like to go and visit my favourite auntie before she gets vajazzled.
Nairn's Bairn
#2 Posted by Nairn's Bairn on 21 Apr 2017 at 10:21 AM
As has been said before, the entrance is going to be key here.

The current serene, solid and churchlike entrance route induces a feeling of calm – leaving your day-to-day stresses in the car park, you are put in the correct frame of mind for a slow amble around the exhibits and perhaps a coffee. The entrance ‘pinch point’ is part of the process, it works, and is easy to understand (right from the off you know where the ‘facilities’ are).

While the new entrance may well be able to swallow entire bus parties at one go, it’s in danger of feeling like a school or hospital reception, particularly if banks of signage are required due to lack of architectural orientation. I hope they manage to maintain the feeling of sanctuary.

Just don’t mess it up guys, please. Do what you like to the riverside but the Burrell is precious.
Cold potatoes
#3 Posted by Cold potatoes on 21 Apr 2017 at 11:02 AM
Good. That should see them reimbursed for the George Square fiasco. Justice is served.

The design'll be just grand.

A wonderful building, a dream-like setting and fantastic exhibits. Really, the only thing worth going to Glasgow for if you're a tourist.
Fush and chups.
#4 Posted by Fush and chups. on 22 Apr 2017 at 14:55 PM
#3 I have to disagree with your last statement, but whatever happens to floats your boat I do hope you find it elsewhere.

I look forward to more exhibits being put on display. I'm sure the renovations and reconfiguration will work well. Aside from the works, what is needed is greater promotion of the facility itself. Perhaps one of the open top bus tours could make a stop here?
Sue Pearman
#5 Posted by Sue Pearman on 16 May 2017 at 12:58 PM
There's a very good letter on this in today's AJ (If we're allowed to refer to that Ed?) titled Burrell Collection plans are 'appallingly stupid'
Sue Pearman
#6 Posted by Sue Pearman on 16 May 2017 at 12:58 PM
The text from that letter: "The Burrell Collection is one of the finest buildings in the UK (`McAslan wins planning for overhaul of Glasgow's Burrell Collection' AJ 20.04.17). Emerging out of a period of deep decline and despair in British architecture, it represents a lost fork in the road; a fusion of historically nuanced, tectonic design thinking that seemed lost until architects such as Herzog & de Meuron and Robbrecht en Daem recuperated a form of mature modern architecture in the early 1990s. In the meantime, British architecture retreated into the ghettoised, extremist 'unit system' of Hi-Tech on the one hand and Neoclassical Pomo on the other. Apart from 9H magazine, and in particular its 'On Continuity' issue, the mature modern architecture of the Burrell was largely ignored in Britain during the 1980s and 1990s. I am not entirely surprised to find that it seems to about to be mutilated — it's too subtle and uncompromising and downright bloody good, and that always makes buildings vulnerable to misunderstanding until history catches up with their genius. What is shocking, however, despite the risk-averse procurement systems of today (which would have excluded Barry Gasson et al at round one), is that a reputable heritage practice like John McAslan + Partners is seriously contemplating redesigning a masterpiece by another architect. I find its approach towards the entrance sequence absolutely arrogant and appallingly stupid; how dare any architect propose to change the entrance to a beautiful and incredibly intelligent piece of modern architecture? How is it possible today that a building of such undoubted intellectual, aesthetic and spatial coherence be subject to such a fundamental misreading? I am appalled that neither national nor local heritage agencies are questioning the banal assumption that somehow the sandstone entrance gable is suddenly now redundant. This is not a mediocre speculative development which needs to be refurbished in order to meet current regulations and to increase profitability — it's a major national monument. Yes, it's perhaps possible to increase floor area without building an extension; but it's ignorant and inexcusable to lobotomise a building by irrevocably altering the relationship between its use and its appearance. I hope McAslan reconsiders its plan to render the existing entrance redundant; and that my concerned colleagues join Alan Dunlop and I in opposing some of these ill-considered proposals. Architecture of this quality needs our critical support, and the combined intelligence of our professional disciplines. This building is too valuable to be modified without clue process; and I don't just mean a local planning authority that doubles as the client, but a reasoned critical discussion. In our troubled times, this sort of dialogue is at risk, but it's the basis of cultural continuity, something that the entrance sequence and spatial narrative of the Burrell represents and embodies so well. Patrick Lynch"

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