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Amanda Levete to lead £42m Paisley Museum makeover

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May 22 2018

Amanda Levete to lead £42m Paisley Museum makeover
London-based architecture practice AL_A have been chosen by Renfrewshire Council to lead the transformation of Paisley Museum, a jewel in the town’s cultural quarter.

Paisley lost out in its bid to become the UK City of Culture 2021 but is pressing ahead with many of its flagship schemes, selecting a practice with international recognition in a sign of its new-found confidence.

A contemporary addition is planned for the Victorian landmark; including a new entrance, café, shop and landscaping. Significant upgrades to four other buildings, including the Coats Observatory, are also planned together with a total reconfiguration of internal spaces.

Practice founder Amanda Levete said: “This is one of the most radical briefs I have read - it triggered in us a desire to tell the untold history of Paisley and search for a narrative thread that will drive the design. The project is bigger than the building itself and I am excited to re-imagine the relationship between the street and museum.

"This is not only about finding the way to best show the museum's collection, it's also about showing the world how an ambitious cultural project can have a profound impact on a community and its identity.”

The £42m initiative is the first commission north of the border for the practice and will necessitate the institution closing the doors this autumn, not to re-open until 2022.

Landscape architects Gross Max and engineers Arup round out the design team with conservation consultants Giles Quarme.
The historic museum fabric will be restored under the plans
The historic museum fabric will be restored under the plans
The number of objects on public display will be doubled following the work
The number of objects on public display will be doubled following the work

7 Comments

Robert Tannahill
#1 Posted by Robert Tannahill on 22 May 2018 at 19:27 PM
Dear Ms Levete,

After going to the Storie street baths as a child, to visit the museum with towel under arm was a must. This was 50 years ago...(in the times of the Indian elephant before it got unceremoniously binned, but that's another story altogether...

The following made me cringe...

'...it triggered in us a desire to tell the untold history of Paisley and search for a narrative thread that will drive the design. The project is bigger than the building itself and I am excited to re-imagine the relationship between the street and museum.'

I genuinely live in fear.

Never mind the patter of triggering and driving and re-imagining relationships et al, do you have to be so 'colonialist' about it? I mean, the UNTOLD story? Really? Sorry I didn't quite realise we need AL_A to tell us all about what has happened here over the last 200 years and how the fabric of this provincial town has been destroyed in modern times by the demise of the mills, civil engineering and more recently by global capitalism with Braehead.

Oh well, thats the way the world goes, I suppose.

Hoping to be proven wrong... Do keep me posted. - ta ra.

Yours,

Rab
Ian
#2 Posted by Ian on 22 May 2018 at 21:50 PM
Sometimes I find the comments made difficult to fathom. Here is a city which, despite losing out on UK City of Culture, is nevertheless forging ahead with its plans and also selecting a top architect for its key project, I was in Lisbon last week and saw one of Amanda Levete's recent projects which was very impressive. What about a bit more positivity and give the city credit for its vision.
Leslie Huckfield
#3 Posted by Leslie Huckfield on 23 May 2018 at 12:18 PM
Well done, Rab. Like you, fed up with being excessively patronised from London.
Davy
#4 Posted by Davy on 23 May 2018 at 12:23 PM
Ian,
Agreed. I usually jump in here for 2 minutes at lunchtime to remind myself that there are some absolute roasters out there, who take the time to post snide comments about projects will ultimately improve our towns and cities. Down with this sort of thing!!
Robert Tannahill
#5 Posted by Robert Tannahill on 23 May 2018 at 12:38 PM
Thanks for pointing this out, Ian.

I'll remember that I am in a city next time I'm on the underground system travelling through the metropolis of Paisley from Broomlands Street to Gauze Street.

If this is a bit difficult to fathom, allow me to simplify matters for you:

Paisley is a town, it always was and always will be . It has all the identifiers of urban morphology one would expect to see to call it a town. If it walks like a duck...

PR and status is one thing, but to talk as if you believe it to be true, that's quite another thing...

Am glad you enjoyed Lisbon. Having just seen it on the telly on Eurovision night I'd love to go.

I have no doubt AL_A will be wonderful architects. I just thought the text was at odds with who they are, as if Amanda Levete was having to talk out the side of her mooth to us northern folk for her to be understood.

It came across as if she had just seen where Paisley was on a map.

have a nice day.
Mr Boring
#6 Posted by Mr Boring on 24 May 2018 at 08:29 AM
Well done to the council and AL_A for seeking to achieve a wider narrative with the project. Believe people ! You cant build a future on cynicism and distrust.
Rab F
#7 Posted by Rab F on 29 May 2018 at 13:16 PM
Well said Rab. You can't build a future based on retail therapy, Starbucks and cultural vandalism.

Other than disabled access, what's wrong with the interaction between the building and the street? This is clearly a building of significant architectural and cultural value that deserves some respect rather than a vanity project (e.g. box stuck on the frontage).

Why would it take 4 years to deliver this anyway?

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