A new rooftop for art: Museum remodeling by Hoskins Architects in Aberdeen
Very little was still up-to-date at Aberdeen Art Gallery, built between 1885 and 1926: technical installations were at the end of their useful life, the roof was leaky, barrier-free access to the upper storey did not exist and wayfinding was fairly chaotic. Plus there was no room for temporary exhibitions. All the more reason, back in 2009, for the council of the city on the east coast of Scotland to commission Hoskins Architects to remodel and enlarge the building in a project that has now been completed. The widely visible rooftop extension clad in concave copper elements is the symbol of the museum’s expansion. As such it contains space for temporary exhibitions, educational activities and a café, while also providing visitors access to a roof terrace that offers views of the city. An oval aperture in the floor also permits the natural light entering through the glazed top of the roof storey to reach the museum’s large sculpture hall below.
At the lower levels of the building Hoskins Architects thoroughly reorganized the accessibility and circulation system first and foremost, opening up the long enfilade of rooms and marking transitions between spaces with striking grey timber portals behind which technical installations such as electrical distribution points and humidifiers are concealed. The cupola space of the Remembrance Hall was also made an integral part of the circuit through the exhibitions. In tackling the aeration and ventilation of the museum, the architects mainly opted for a thermal stack effect in both the two-storey sculpture hall and the roof storey above it. As a result, stale air escapes to the outside through automated openings surrounding the roof light, while fresh air streams in through similar openings in the lower storeys. Only the rooms for special exhibitions under the roof are aerated and ventilated by mechanical means.
This year, the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS) has distinguished the Aberdeen Art Gallery with the 2021 Andrew Doolan Award for Best Building in Scotland.
Projektsteuerung: Faithful & Gould
Denkmalschutz: Andrew PK Wright OBE
Lichtplanung: Speirs & Major