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John McAslan + Partners and Gardiner & Theobald appointed for the Burrell Collection's revamp

Glasgow City Council's Executive Committee today confirmed the appointment of Gardiner & Theobald LLP with John McAslan + Partners and Event Communications to take forward the Burrell Collection's ambitious refurbishment and redisplay plans.

John McAslan + Partners and Gardiner & Theobald have been appointed to undertake the Project Management as Architect and Lead Designer for the refurbishment of the building, whilst Event Communications has been appointed to deliver exhibition and interpretative design across the Burrell's galleries.

The refurbishment project will see the museum undergo its most comprehensive modernisation since opening to international acclaim in 1983. The building, which is no longer fit for purpose, will be turned into an exemplar of sustainability, transforming it from a building with a large carbon footprint, into an energy efficient, modern museum.

In addition, plans will allow a much greater proportion of the Collection to be displayed. Basement stores, open to the public for the first time, and a new central core will greatly increase access for visitors to the many artworks. Visitors will also benefit from a new learning space, and improved café and retail opportunities, while landscaped terraces will be introduced to link the museum with its parkland setting, providing a venue for events.

More than two-thirds of the fundraising target of £60 million to £66 million has been pledged to date with support from Glasgow City Council, the Heritage Lottery Fund and the UK Government.

A total of 113 suppliers expressed an interest in the tender for the Project Management led Architectural and Building Design Team, with a further 57 suppliers expressing an interest in Exhibition Design Team Services. Council officials carried out a pre-evaluation stage, with Gardiner & Theobald LLP, John McAslan + Partners and Event Communications selected from an impressive shortlist.

Councillor Archie Graham, the Deputy Leader of Glasgow City Council and Chair of Glasgow Life, said: "Sir William's great gift is of huge cultural importance both at home and abroad and we have a moral duty to protect and promote his outstanding legacy. Today's announcement marks an important milestone for the development of the Burrell Collection, as we work to unlock its great potential. The appointment of world-leading practices in architecture, project management and exhibition design shows, yet again, our commitment to the city's cultural treasures. In just a few years' time, Sir William's passion and lifelong commitment to building his collection will be honoured by being housed in a museum worthy of its unrivalled status."

Sir Angus Grossart, commented: "The brief is challenging in combining the refurbishment of an iconic building with ambitions to vitalise visitor engagement with the world-class Collection. It is an excellent foundation on which to optimise the Burrell's potential whilst retaining the character and strengths of the building. The appointments of Gardiner & Theobald LLP, John McAslan + Partners, and Event Communications, promises a new chapter for the Burrell Collection."

James Robinson, Director of Burrell Renaissance said: "We would like to thank all those who took part in the process. The appointed design teams show a great understanding and confidence in their ability to create innovative solutions that will allow us to open up the Collection whilst maintaining the quality and integrity of the existing building. We are delighted that the appointed design teams have the breadth of expertise to deliver an integrated response at a world-class level."

David Logue, Senior Partner, Scotland, at Gardiner & Theobald LLP said: "Today's announcement marks an important milestone for the Burrell Collection and we're delighted to be a part of it. The proposed solutions will look towards the importance of sustainability and accessibility, whilst speaking to the importance of the Collection's contents."

John McAslan, Executive Chairman of John McAslan + Partners commented: "With its distinctive presence and unique blend of artefacts with architecture, we are delighted to be appointed Architect and Lead Designer for this project and to be given the opportunity to work with the Burrell Collection as it becomes an exemplar for a 21st century museum."

And James Alexander, Chief Executive of Event Communications said: "The wide-ranging support the project has received is testament to its national and international significance while its transformative potential is acknowledged across the UK cultural sector. We are thrilled with today's appointment and look forward to working collaboratively on this unique project." 

The teams will begin developing the scope for the refurbishment and redisplay from April 2016, with building work set to commence from October 2016.

A programme of events and activities leading up to October 2016 will give the public the opportunity to see and engage with treasures from the Collection before refurbishment begins after which an exhibition of works from the Burrell will be on display at Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum, Glasgow, allowing continued access to citizens and visitors alike.

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