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Architect sought to transform Perth City Hall into cultural venue

February 6 2017

Architect sought to transform Perth City Hall into cultural venue
Perth & Kinross Council have launched a hunt to find an architect to lead the rejuvenation of Perth City Hall, ending years of doubt as to the buildings future.

Having initially sought to demolish the landmark the local authority now intends to transform the building into a £20m cultural attraction as part of a bid to be crowned UK City of Culture 2021.

Organised by the RIAS the competition invites architects to apply for the pre-qualifying stage of the competition before five qualifying architects go on to draw up more detailed proposals as part of the tender process.

Together with a revamped Perth Museum & Art Gallery the attraction will play host to collections and exhibitions from the local area and around the UK, stretching from the kingdom of Alba through to famous sons such as the painter John Duncan Fergusson.

Helen Smout, chief executive of Culture Perth and Kinross, which delivers and develops museum and library services in the region, added: "City Hall and its redesign is a crucial element to the continued development of culture and arts in Perth and Kinross, and to Perth’s UK City of Culture bid. Culture Perth and Kinross hopes this competition will attract architects who can help showcase City Hall for what it’s going to be – cornerstone of the region’s burgeoning cultural scene and a place to showcase our own important collections alongside an exhibition programme of national and international significance.”

The successful architect will be confirmed by the end of the year who will then proceed to draw up a final design.  Work on this scheme should get underway by early 2019 for completion in early 2021.

A civil engineer, services engineer and principal designer will be appointed directly by hub East Central Scotland from their current supply chain.


#1 Posted by FHM on 6 Feb 2017 at 11:42 AM
Is there a link to this competition UR? There is nothing on the Perth and Kinross Council page for the City Hall nor on RIAS' website.
Graeme McCormick
#2 Posted by Graeme McCormick on 6 Feb 2017 at 12:54 PM
How can you be a UK City of Culture if it's the Council SNP Administration's ambition not to be part t of the UK in 2021?

It's a muckle building which does nothing to enhance St Johns Kirk which has a modest , quiet entrance.
#3 Posted by UR on 6 Feb 2017 at 13:48 PM
RIAS are leading on this - they should update their site this week. I think Charlene heads up their competitions or 0131 229 7545
#4 Posted by willothewisp on 6 Feb 2017 at 18:41 PM
Wow! This competition is being sponsored by PKC who have campaigned relentlessly for the demolition of this building. Is there any funding in place or is this another Perth Swimming Pool whereby hundreds of Architects entered, a winner was selected and the projects as yet is unrealised due to lack of funding?
#5 Posted by CADMonkey on 6 Feb 2017 at 21:07 PM
It is a bit rich that PKC campaigned to have this listed building demolished, pouring scorn on privately funded attempts to find new uses for it, and now they have u-turned and plan to pump public money into it and have it as a showpiece for their UK City of Culture bid. Almost laughable.
The RIAS should insist on their being NO entry fee and prize money for placed entries.
#6 Posted by Anxiousarchitect on 6 Feb 2017 at 22:34 PM
The architects journal suggests contacting Charlene Rankin at the RIAS for competition info.

£10m for Perth museum and Art Gallery and now a £20m refurb of the City Hall on top of the current Perth Theatre project. Has PKC found a crock of gold?
#7 Posted by Willothewisp on 7 Feb 2017 at 06:37 AM
Spot on CADMonkey. No entry fee should be charged. Why should architectural practices give of their ideas and time for free? This devalues architecture!
#8 Posted by FHM on 7 Feb 2017 at 10:07 AM
Well, I think the BIM Assessment is going to stop a fair few offices from applying; I wonder if PKC is more versed in BIM that it has been in the past? Hopefully more versed than Aberdeen and the Shire.
#9 Posted by UR on 7 Feb 2017 at 10:42 AM
The page is live now, closing date 13 March
#10 Posted by willothewisp on 7 Feb 2017 at 11:20 AM
This isn't a competition it is a PQQ to get on the hubco for this area. Don't believe all of what you read. It is a shame this is not a 'blind' ideas competition to see what can be done rather than a PQQ. BIM subscription anyone?
Bill S
#11 Posted by Bill S on 7 Feb 2017 at 11:45 AM
#10, sadly you are completely right. No chance of smaller / medium sized offices to be included on the long-list, let alone the short list to be honest. It's a shame that Perth and Kinross Council, along with RIAS and hubco feel that creativity and a sensitive solution to the brief should be determined by BIM Assessment. Oh well.
#12 Posted by cadmonkey on 7 Feb 2017 at 15:17 PM
Why does a project like this even need BIM?
It doesn't.
Demanding it just cuts down the number of likely applicants, so I guess it is a lazy council procurement employee who has stuck it in the brief.
#13 Posted by CADMonkey on 7 Feb 2017 at 15:20 PM
As they are helping to organise this "competition", should the RIAS not be asking for the BIM requirement to be struck?
#14 Posted by Gary on 7 Feb 2017 at 15:21 PM
"Principal Designer will be appointed directly by hubco from their current supply chain" Not really in line with the spirit of CDM2015 if the PD is not the architect bidding in this competition?
#15 Posted by willothewisp on 7 Feb 2017 at 17:15 PM
Would Charles Rennie Mackintosh win any work in Scotland under the current architectural procurement conditions?


All architects deep down know they cannot produce great architecture without being a BIM Hugger.
#16 Posted by tcg on 8 Feb 2017 at 08:51 AM
I despair at some of the comments and the profession in general. We expect to be taken seriously yet we chuck our hands up in horror if we cant throw away thousands of pounds of unpaid work on an open design competition. Madness! What other profession actually wants to tender for work by giving away masses of value to a client for free? Its crazy.

Equally we are obsessed with the new and the cult of trying to shoehorn young and inexperienced practices into every opportunity no matter how complex. I mean that can turn out well but to obsess over it betrays a lack of understanding of what clients need. Not every project can take on such a risk. Its entirely right that public money is spent carefully for example. There should also be a certain expectation of competence where a listed building is concerned. The procurement process needs to recognise that.

At the same time, while you may not see a need for BIM that doesn't mean that its not a valid objective for the employer and if it is why the hell shouldn't it be a requirement? If BIM can reduce risk, assist with lifecycle costs and make it more efficient to coordinate the design of a project its something which aids rather than impedes good design and should be supported by the profession.
David Roche RIAS
#17 Posted by David Roche RIAS on 6 Mar 2017 at 20:24 PM
As little/retired guys like me won't be able to enter, how about this... Retain the 'front' block (admin, exhibitions, storage, toilets etc.). Remove the rear/auditorium to form a public space/square. Build a stage with slick canopy over it onto the rear. Under this stage store modern, demountable market stalls (smart, not canvas and alumin. tubing) and "café-style" tables and chairs. Finally, "enclose"/define the space with a stylish arch/'gates' either side of frontage. Add great lighting.
Sorted. And no need for this "world-class", 'starchitect' nonsense. If any practice cares to run with this a modest finders' fee will apply! Cheers

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