A £22m redevelopment of the Scottish National Gallery in Edinburgh will transform former office, storage and display spaces on the site into a new set of galleries and improve accessibility to the site for those with mobility impairments, wheelchairs and prams.
The project, which began in October 2018 and is due to be completed in early 2021, will create new spaces to house work from the gallery’s vast collection, including masterpieces by Henry Raeburn, Charles Rennie Mackintosh and the Scottish Colourists.
For the first time, the work will enable visitors to access galleries directly from the adjacent East Princes Street Gardens.
As part of the redevelopment, from mid-January work will start on new landscaping around the East Princes Street Gardens entrance to the building. This will include the widening of existing steps, the construction of a new accessible path, and the planting of new trees.
The installation of a much larger lift and stairwell at the south end of the gallery will also improve the way the whole building is accessed by visitors.
The Gardens level entrance to the gallery will be closed until spring 2019 as work continues but the gallery itself will remain open throughout the redevelopment.
Sir John Leighton, director general of the National Galleries of Scotland, said: “It has been very exciting over the autumn to see work on this transformational project get started, and as we move out of winter and into spring we’re looking forward to some of our first milestones becoming a reality.
“We want the Scottish National Gallery to be a place for everyone to enjoy. We have two years to go before opening, but we hope that as this year progresses people will already begin to feel the great benefits of the work we are doing here.”
Dr Tricia Allerston, co-director, Scottish National Gallery Project, added: “With this once-in-a-lifetime project, we will transform the way we show the world’s greatest collection of historic Scottish art, both in the new, light-filled, state-of-the-art display spaces and in the innovative way we will be showcasing the work of Scottish artists alongside our wider international collection.”
The project has been designed by Scottish architecture practice Hoskins Architects, and is supported by £4.94m from the Heritage Lottery Fund and £5.5m from the Scottish Government.
1 – 3. Scottish National Gallery Project. Graphic interpretation: Metaphor