Hoskins Architects

Perth City Hall and Perth Museum and Art Gallery designers selected

Perth City Hall Mecanoo 3

Mecanoo’s plans for Perth City Hall

The designers for the revamped Perth City Hall and Perth Museum and Art Gallery have been unveiled following a competitive process.

Metaphor has been appointed as the “interpretation and exhibition designers” for the city centre venues and will work with Mecanoo and Hoskins Architects, the architects of the respective projects, to develop new interiors and exhibition spaces in both buildings and bring the stories of Perth’s Ancient Roots and its Modern Scots to life.

London-based design practice Metaphor has a track record of major cultural projects in the UK and beyond which include Shakespeare’s Globe, the Ashmolean Museum, major galleries in the V&A London and in the National Museums and Galleries of Scotland. It is currently developing the exhibitions for the proposed St Kilda visitor centre to be located on Lewis.

Councillor Ian Campbell, leader of Perth & Kinross Council, said: “The council’s plans to make culture accessible to everyone have taken another step forward with the appointment of Metaphor. Interpreting and explaining art and artefacts is a key part of a successful cultural venue and will ensure the Museum and City Hall are the top-class attractions that Perth and Kinross deserves.”

Helen Smout, chief executive of Culture Perth and Kinross, added: “The museum collections of Perth and Kinross are of National Significance and we will be bringing the stories they tell to life at City Hall and Perth Museum – for local people and visitors from across the UK and the world.”

Dutch practice Mecanoo was appointed to transform Perth City Hall into a £20 million major arts hub in August.

BAM Construction will work with hub East Central Scotland to redevelop the Edwarian building, with construction expected to start work in 2019 and the grand opening scheduled for 2021.

The contractor will also lead the £10m Hoskins Architects-designed revamp of Perth Museum and Art Gallery with Ogilvie Construction tasked with building the new collection store on a separate site.

Royal High School hotel decision to be appealed for second time

Royal High School hotel revisedDevelopers behind plans to turn the former Royal High School in Edinburgh into a hotel are to appeal against last month’s refusal of their latest plans.

Duddingston House Properties and Urbanist Hotels want to redevelop the A-listed building on Calton Hill, which has lain empty for almost 50 years, into a 127-bedroom hotel.

Their proposal was unanimously rejected by the City of Edinburgh Council last month amid concerns it would harm the historic nature of the site and the landscape of the city.

Lewis Ritchie, the council’s planning convener, described the designs as “abhorrent” and “ugly,” and said they were “almost universally reviled” by anyone who had seen them.

Royal High School hotel revised 2However, David Orr, the chairman of Urbanist Hotels, told The Scotsman it remained determined to find a future for the old Royal High School.

He said: “In line with our contractual agreement with City of Edinburgh Council, we remain wholly committed to delivering an outstanding scheme for the old Royal High School, reviving a building which has been allowed to slip into a state of disrepair and neglect for nearly 50 years.

“We fully recognise the importance of Hamilton’s Old Royal High School Building on a national level and our revised proposals guarantee the future of Hamilton’s masterpiece, both architecturally and financially.

“As such, we have advised the planning and environmental appeals division of the Scottish Government that it is our intention to appeal.”

Royal High School hotel revised 3Lawyers for the developers have already written to the Scottish Government department advising them that an appeal will be forthcoming.

Ann Faulds, a partner at law firm CMS, e-mailed officials last Thursday to advise them that an appeal would be lodged “as soon as practicable”, once supporting documents had been gathered and a formal decision notice was received.

The Hoskins Architects-designed project was scaled back in February after an initial bid was rejected by a single vote in December 2015 after councillors decided the original plans, which included two six-storey extensions, would damage the building’s Calton Hill setting.

The revised project proposed 127 rooms, 20 fewer than originally envisaged.

A spokesman for Mr Orr confirmed Duddingston and Urbanist intend to pursue that appeal alongside the new one.

A rival vision by Richard Murphy Architects and Simpson & Brown to turn the property into a music school has been approved but cannot proceed until an agreement between the council and Urbanist Group expires.

Royal High School hotel plan unanimously rejected

Royal High School hotel revised 2Developers have vowed to carry on their plans to turn the former Royal High School into a luxury hotel after the proposal was unanimously rejected by the City of Edinburgh Council yesterday following a six hour hearing.

Duddingston House Properties and Urbanist Group proposed turning the historic building, designed by Thomas Hamilton, into a five star hotel complex.

But plans have been opposed by conservation groups including Edinburgh World Heritage and Historic Environment Scotland over the impact the hotel would have on the city’s Unesco World Heritage Site status.

The Hoskins Architects-designed project was scaled back in February after an initial bid was rejected by a single vote in December 2015 after councillors decided the original plans, which included two six-storey extensions, would damage the building’s Calton Hill setting.

The revised project proposed 127 rooms, 20 fewer than originally envisaged.

Royal High School hotel revised 3Councillors accepted the recommendation of local authority planning officials to refuse permission for the £70 million transformation of the A-listed neoclassical building amid concerns it would harm the historic nature of the site and the landscape of the city.

The city planners’ conclusion was that “the benefits to the city’s economy and to tourism by bringing an at-risk building into a suitable long term sustainable use are not outweighed when taking into account the impacts on the listed building the conservation areas, the World Heritage Site and the protected landscape”.

Following the decision, David Orr, chairman of joint developer Urbanist Hotels, indicated he will press on with the proposal.

He said: “We remain 100 per cent committed to delivering this, or another scheme in line with our agreement with the council, which runs until 2022.

“We are naturally disappointed although not especially surprised that councillors have taken the decision not to approve our proposals.

“It is especially disappointing and worrying that this decision was made amidst a backdrop of wilful misrepresentation and misleading campaigning by Edinburgh World Heritage and the Architectural Heritage Society of Scotland.

Royal High School hotel revised“Despite this concerted and very public campaign against our proposals, we will continue to fulfil our contractual obligation with the council to revive a building which has been allowed to slip into a state of disrepair and neglect for more than 50 years.

“Our revised proposal discussed yesterday is the culmination of 18 months’ intensive work and resources involving an investment of more than £3m. During this time we have taken time to listen to a wide range of stakeholders and heritage experts and taken their views and feedback on board, with heritage and conservation central to our plans.

“We produced a design solution which not only protects and promotes the magnificence of Hamilton’s centrepiece building but also has a viable and long-term investment plan in place to maintain it as part of the city’s living and breathing heritage.

“We need to be very clear that, despite what we have heard today, our scheme is the only proposal on the table that can realistically guarantee the future of the Hamilton building – both architecturally and financially. Without it, we are facing a very real risk of another 50 years of disrepair and misuse, which would be catastrophic for both the building and the city.”

A rival vision by Richard Murphy Architects and Simpson & Brown to turn the property into a music school has been approved but cannot proceed until an agreement between the City of Edinburgh Council and Urbanist Group expires.

Old Royal High School hotel plan recommended for refusal

Royal High School hotel revised 3Revised plans to turn the Old Royal High School building into a luxury hotel have been recommended refusal by City of Edinburgh Council planning officials.

Developers behind the proposals, Duddingston House Properties and Urbanist Group, unveiled a scaled-back vision for the site in February after an initial bid was rejected by a single vote in December 2015. Councillors had decided the original plans, which included two six-storey extensions, would damage the setting of the A-listed neoclassical building on the flanks of Calton Hill.

Under new plans, the £70 million Hoskins Architects-designed project proposed 127 rooms, 20 fewer than originally envisaged.

However, council planning officials have now said it would harm the historic nature of the site and the landscape of the city and have recommended that councillors turn down the hotel plans when they meet next week.

Royal High School hotel revised 2In their report, Edinburgh planning officials said the 19th-century neoclassical building was an “architectural masterpiece”. The hotel plan failed to provide the “world-class” designs the site needed, they said.

Planners objected to two new five-storey bedroom wings on the grounds, which they said would interfere with the building’s historic character.

The hotel would have required the demolition of the entrance lodge and gym, which the officials said could not be justified.

Royal High School hotel revisedThe report said: “The former Royal High School is an architectural masterpiece and one of the most significant buildings in Scotland.

“The proposed wings would have a significant adverse impact on the composition, integrity and special character of the listed building.

“The benefits to the city’s economy and to tourism through bringing an ‘at-risk’ building back into a sustainable long-term use are not outweighed by the very significant harm to the built heritage and landscape of the city.

“The development would cause permanent and irreversible damage.”

A rival vision by Richard Murphy Architects and Simpson & Brown to turn the Thomas Hamilton-designed property into a music school has been approved but cannot proceed until an agreement between the City of Edinburgh Council and Urbanist Group expires.

Trio of Scottish projects secure RIBA National Awards

Rockvilla National Theatre of Scotland HQThree Scottish projects have today been named on a 49-strong shortlist for the UK’s best building of the year by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).

The City of Glasgow College’s City Campus by Reiach and Hall Architects and Michael Laird Architects, Ann Nisbet Studio’s Newhouse of Auchengee and the National Theatre of Scotland’s Rockvilla by Hoskins Architects were all awarded a RIBA National Award 2017 for architecture which recognises the best buildings created in the last 12 months.

A shortlist for the prestigious Stirling Prize will be selected from this year’s diverse list, which showcases the breadth and scale of projects across the UK.

City of Glasgow College – City Campus

Images courtesy of Keith Hunter

The merger of Glasgow’s central, metropolitan and nautical colleges created a super college bringing together facilities and teaching previously housed in 11 separate buildings across the city within two new central campuses. City Campus, more than 60,000m2 in size, is the second of these large new buildings. It brings together six major faculties in 300 high-tech classrooms, multi-purpose lecture theatres and specialist teaching facilities.

While the initial impression of this building is as something of immense scale which also signals its presence as an important place of learning, its internal spaces are designed to encourage both the formal teaching processes which it contains and informal, more chance encounters. The materials palette and form of the building are deliberately restrained to generate something of skill, clarity and elegance, on the grandest scale.

There is an astonishing scale and complexity to the brief for this project and considerable architectural skill is demonstrated in its realisation; not just in resolving the brief, but in the contribution to the city – in massing, composition and the generosity of the public route through the grand stepped atrium space. This architectural skill extends beyond the cityscape through to the detailed care taken in the organisation of student spaces, encouraging social interaction across disciplines, to the considered approach to materials and detailing.

Newhouse of Auchengee

Images courtesy of David Barbour

This contemporary farmhouse pays homage to the aesthetic of historic farm buildings in this part of North Ayrshire. On an elevation, commanding long views over the agricultural landscape, the building is a cluster of separate spaces, reflecting the way that rural buildings were developed and extended over decades past.

On this windswept site the cluster is composed carefully to create shelter and in doing so, a captivating arrival sequence – the long drive up the hill set on axis with a pend that at first sight frames a view to the sky beyond and then leads to an entrance court. It is a composition that successfully controls the elements, captures views and mediates between the scale of the wider landscape and the intimate scale of the dwelling.

The main public spaces and bedrooms are set within a two-storey section with the master bedroom within a linear single-storey area and an annex, accessed via the courtyard, offering a further two bedrooms. The whole composition clusters around a three sided courtyard to the east and a sheltered terrace to the south-west.

The zinc external cladding reflects the light and cloud patterns of its elevated setting which plays upon a building which is contemporary, contextual and in harmony with the light and life of its locale.

Born out of careful research into the unique vernacular of North Ayrshire this is a project with a strong sense of place – truly a building of its landscape.


Images courtesy of Dapple Photography

Set within a disused industrial warehouse in a previously neglected area of Glasgow, this new facility brings together departments of Scotland’s National Theatre previously scattered across several locations. This “creative engine room” for the Company will help it fulfil its national and international mission as a focus for the best of theatre in Scotland.

The building’s elevated canalside setting at the northern edge of Glasgow city centre, enables good access while helping to restore life to an area which was once a key transport artery and bustling inner-urban port.

The existing structural frame was retained and re-clad to reinforce the industrial aesthetic. A restrained internal palette continues the theme, housing a double-height atrium/social space, rehearsal spaces, offices and meeting rooms.

The architects intervention is restrained and modest allowing the creative focus to belong to the inhabitants. There is however a mature sophistication to the architectural restraint, from strategic planning, entry sequence and hierarchy, through to choice of materials and careful detailing – everything is carefully judged. The result is embraced by its new occupants – they refer to their new ‘place of imagination, learning and play’.

The building will help to reinforce the role and standing of the National Theatre as well contributing to the regeneration of North Glasgow.

“RIBA National Awards provide insight into emerging design trends, as well as showing how well the profession responds to economic drivers. I am delighted to see such confident, innovative and ambitious architecture delivered in such challenging times,” said RIBA president Jane Duncan.

“The lack of high-quality new housing is a huge issue in the UK so I am particularly pleased to see great examples of well-designed, sustainable new homes amongst our award winners,” she added.

“We all deserve a well-designed, affordable home, wherever we live in the country. I encourage other local authorities, developers and clients to look at these projects as exemplars.”

Also among this year’s winners is the visitor attraction British Airways i360, which was designed by Marks Barfield Architects for the Brighton seafront, and the Victoria Gate shopping centre in Leeds.

The monumental extension to the Tate Modern on London’s Bankside, an eco straw-clad office building in Norwich and a striking new biomass power plant in Sheffield were also given a nod.

ISG secures St Andrew Square office job in Edinburgh

2017-01-31AerialRegistersImageSRChris Stewart Group has appointed ISG to deliver its flagship office and leisure project as part of the wider redevelopment of The Registers in Edinburgh.

The mixed-use Mint Building scheme in St Andrew Square sees ISG create circa 61,000 sq ft of Grade A office accommodation and 11,000 sq ft of leisure space across ground and basement levels.

The Mint Building at 28-52 West Register Street incorporates an 1860s warehouse, constructed in the Venetian Gothic architectural style, with ISG retaining and repairing the building’s imposing façade, whilst reconfiguring and extending capacity by introducing a new steel frame structure.

2017-01-31TheRegistersImageSRA series of adjacent buildings in a poor state of repair have been carefully demolished as part of the project and ISG will construct a new steel structure to seamlessly link into the existing warehouse building, providing  seven floors of high specification open plan office space.

The contemporary-designed new build element incorporates sandstone cladding with glazed curtain walling to maximise the volume of natural light entering the building. Featuring high quality materials and fittings throughout, the Mint Building boasts a spacious double height reception area.

The top two floors provide panoramic views across Edinburgh, Fife and the Lothians. Externally, the streetscape and wider public realm will be carefully and sympathetically restored.

Andy McLinden, managing director of ISG’s UK construction North and Scotland business, said: “There are encouraging signs of growth in the Edinburgh office market and reinvigorating existing assets is a key trend. Refurbishing and retrofitting existing properties, especially within a heritage context, requires a very specific skillset and high levels of expertise. When you also add complex logistical constraints and busy locations into these scenarios, it’s clear why clients are actively seeking out contractors with a proven track record of delivery.”

ISG is working alongside architects Hoskins Architects, RYBKA M&E consultant and structural engineers Will Rudd Davidson to bring Chris Stewart Group’s vision to reality.

Proposals to transform Perth City Hall unveiled

Perth City Hall ASL 3

Concept designs by Austin-Smith:Lord and MVRDV

Initial concept designs for the redevelopment of Perth City Hall were unveiled today at a public exhibition.

Perth & Kinross Council is working with the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS) to manage the process of choosing from a shortlist of five major architects to work on the project.

The shortlisted architects Austin-Smith:Lord and MVRDVHoskins Architects; LDN; Mecanoo; and Richard Murphy Architects have now each submitted their designs for the exhibition.

Austin-Smith:Lord and MVRDV

Perth City Hall ASL

Submission: “We love the old building – so let’s keep the best historic features and open up the box to welcome everybody to Perth’s Living Room. Perth City Hall (PCH) is contained by (and contains) a series of urban rooms. PCH and St John’s Kirk sit within a large urban space accessed via historic vennels and streets. Within the main hall is the Art Mixer – a super flexible exhibit space. In combination these interlinked boxes create the City’s Living Room.

“The Panoramic Roof Garden and all level of the building are accessed by a loop route; grand stair and scenic lift which reveal themselves to the street and the city. The loop creates a civic circuit from street to roof-top garden and back; either the culmination of the cultural visit or a destination in its own right.”

Hoskins Architects

Perth City Hall HoskinsSubmission: “The project looks beyond the building to create a safe, welcoming, and attractive environment that will encourage locals and visitors to enter Perth City Hall, as well as, reinvigorating the surrounding streets and vennels, while respecting the setting of the category A listed St John’s Kirk.

“A new raised plinth, with ramps and steps provides a welcoming entrance to Perth City Hall with greater visual presence. The New Market Cross memorial will be relocated to open up an appropriately generous and direct approach from St John’s Shopping Centre and King Edward Street.”


Perth City Hall LDNSubmission: “The composition of the ancient St John’s Kirk, the City Hall and Perth’s historic street pattern, including its vennels, should result in an urban space of world-class but its current state is rather underwhelming and the overall effect is less than the sum of its parts. Vehicular traffic routes will be re-organised to create a servicing zone along the north side of the City Hall and reduce the road between it and the shopping centre.

“A series of new exhibition plinths will be created along the south side of the City Hall to link St John and King Edward Streets and extend the “front door” of the City Hall into the public realm. These plinths will delineate the edge of a raised plinth along the sunny south side of the City Hall which can be used by the street level café operators along South Street. One of the plinths will be on axis with Fleshers Vennel and the concept is that they will be used for changing displays and visual attractors from surrounding streets to the City Hall precinct.

“The levels of the piazza in front of St John’s Kirk will be adjusted to improve the setting of St John and provide level access into the new City Hall Entrance. Surface finishes will extend through the glass entrance screen into the City Hall to extend the public realm visually into the heart of the building.”


Perth City Hall Mecanoo 3Submission: “The project endeavours to create a new gateway to Perth; to its history and its pride. Perth City Hall has been under a ‘dust blanket’ for many years however its grandeur and resonance within the hearts and minds of the community has meant that it has not been forgotten.

“Our scheme proposal aims to re-activate Perth City Hall by a number of ‘light touch’ interventions that open the building up to the public realm at ground level (The Vennel and the café/bar) and provide a flexible platform in which to best display Perth and Kinross Council’s permanent and temporary collections.

“The design is about transparency, permeability, accessibility and creating an interactive environment for all.”

Richard Murphy Architects

Perth City Hall RMA 2Submission: “We are very conscious of the recent controversy regarding the potential demolition of the former Perth City Hall. Many residents have very happy memories of the building and we recognise that it forms a very strong and familiar landmark in the city centre.

“Nonetheless, we think the building needs radical surgery not just internally to transform it from a concert hall to a museum and gallery, but also to make the new function of the museum evident from the outside.

“Currently the building is a mysterious (and slightly forbidding) box. There are no views of what happens on the inside from the outside. We want to change that so as to invite the public across the threshold.

“The most architecturally elaborate parts of the exterior are the western entrance elevation and the four corners of the building. The rear elevation and the central sections of the side elevations are less important. Internally we believe that the two main staircases and the plastered vault to the main hall are the most significant elements.

“The main entrance will remain on King Edward St but our first move is to make a secondary entrance opposite St John’s Kirk and to place the café and shop there.

“Next we would lower the ground floor of the entire building to be at the same level as the surrounding streets to make the whole building accessible to all.

“Our most radical move would be to remove the central part of the north elevation, insert a giant steel beam and rebuild the cornice and parapet but otherwise replace all the stone work with glass wall.”

BAM Construction was appointed by hub East Central Scotland to redevelop the building earlier this month.

The final decision on the design will be made in the summer, with construction expected to begin in 2019.

Shortlisted designs for Perth City Hall to be showcased

PerthCityHallAn exhibition featuring the initial design concepts created by the five shortlisted architectural firms for the transformation of Perth City Hall into a cultural attraction are to go on show for members of the public.

The building, which closed its doors to the public in 2005, is to be converted by Perth & Kinross Council into a world-class visual arts visitor experience.

The shortlisted architects Austin-Smith:Lord and MVRDV; Hoskins Architects; LDN; Mecanoo; and Richard Murphy Architects will each submit designs for the exhibition.

Last week BAM Construction was appointed by hub East Central Scotland to redevelop the building.

The concepts can be viewed in the Civic Hall at 2 High Street from 12 noon on 12 June. The exhibition will then be open 10am-7pm on weekdays and 10am – 4pm at weekends until 24 June. Images from the exhibition will also be displayed at the back of City Hall opposite St John’s Kirk, and online.

Members of the public will have the opportunity to comment on the designs.

The final decision on which firms wins will be made by Perth & Kinross Council in the summer. Formal public consultation will form part of the subsequent planning process.

Following the successful architect being confirmed, the development of the detailed plans and applications for planning consent and listed building consent will take place, with construction works due to begin in 2019.

Scottish National Gallery expansion scaled back and delayed to reduce risks

Scottish National GalleryThe multi-million pound project to revamp the Scottish National Gallery in Edinburgh has been modified in order for the project to remain close to the original £16.8 million budget, the National Galleries of Scotland (NGS) has announced.

A revised scheme for the development, which has been approved by NGS Trustees, has scrapped the extension into East Princes Street Gardens and pushed back the entire project a year for further design work.

Back in March, the project was delayed for “several months” after NGS announced that some aspects of the construction, namely the proposal to build out by an additional five metres into East Princes Street Gardens, were more complex and expensive than originally anticipated.

It has now been decided to remove this aspect of the construction altogether to reduce the cost “significantly” and also lessen the risks involved in what was “an extremely complex engineering problem, extending the building above the main-line railway tunnels”.

While the original extension would have increased further the available display space, NGS assured that the new galleries will still represent a doubling of the existing space to be dedicated to Scottish art in this area of the building.

The Trustees have also decided that there should be a reconsideration of how the collection is displayed within the Scottish National Gallery as a whole, to ensure that Scottish art is presented alongside the international displays. This will mean a completely new presentation of the Scottish National Gallery and an entirely different visitor experience to the site.

All of the other elements of the original project will go ahead as planned including the creation of attractive new Galleries at the Gardens level, new circulation routes within the site and new landscaping within East Princes Street Gardens to facilitate entry into Princes Street Gardens as a whole and the Scottish National Gallery’s Gardens level entrance.

The changes, however, mean that further design work will need to be carried out and new statutory approvals may also be required. Therefore the estimated completion date for the project has shifted from 2019 to 2020.

The exact costs of the longer programme and extra design and project requirements will be determined once the new tender process has been completed, though the aim is to keep as close as possible to the original budget.

Sir John Leighton, director-general, National Galleries of Scotland, said: “NGS looks after an amazing collection of Scottish art and our aim is to provide these works of art with the world-class showcase that they deserve. As with any venture, this project has its fair share of challenges but we are delighted that we can now move forward with plans that maintain our ambition to completely transform the presentation of Scottish art and the experience of visitors to the Scottish National Gallery.”

Cabinet secretary for culture, tourism and external affairs, Fiona Hyslop, added: “I welcome the steps National Galleries Scotland has taken to ensure this ambitious project can be delivered in line with the development’s original aims. Celebrating Scotland’s Art will significantly enhance the visitor experience at this already top-rated attraction, encourage even more people to access and enjoy its iconic collections, and raise the international profile of Scottish Art.”

Hoskins Architects was appointed to the project in 2014.

Shortlist revealed for Perth City Hall transformation

Perth City Hall

Perth City Hall

Five of the biggest names in UK architecture have been shortlisted in Perth & Kinross Council’s competition to redesign Perth City Hall.

Launched by the local authority in February, the competition challenged architectural firms to come up with a grand vision for redeveloping the building into a cultural attraction capable of bringing visitors to the city from around the world.

The designers hoping to undertake the project include Austin-Smith: Lord, Hoskins Architects, LDN, Mecanoo and Richard Murphy Architects.

Together they have been responsible for transforming some of the world’s most treasured historic buildings including the National Museum of Scotland, the Scottish National Gallery, Stirling Tolbooth Arts Centre, Perth Theatre, the Urquhart Castle Visitor Centre and the Scottish Mining Museum, together with the Culloden Battlefield Visitor Centre, the National media Museum and the Waterfront Museum in Abu Dhabi.

Each of the firms will develop initial design concepts which will go on public display in June.

The successful architect is likely to be confirmed by the end of 2017 and construction work will start on the building in 2019.

The grand opening of the building is scheduled for 2021.

The council voted in June to bring the building back into public use with the vision of increasing the city’s capacity to display collections of national significance, house major touring exhibitions and feature national and oversees loans.

Together with a £10 million investment to transform Perth Museum and Art Gallery, it is planned that the two venues will tell the story of how the ancient roots of Scotland were forged in Perth in the Kingdom of Alba, and how modern Scots including the painter John Duncan Fergusson shaped the modern world.

Chris Coleman-Smith, director of Hoskins Architects, said:  “We are thrilled to be on the shortlist for the Perth City Hall project. Perth City Hall is a prominent listed civic building within the Perth Central Conservation Area, giving it a significant presence on Perth’s streetscape. The building is an important component of Perth’s historical and current identity. As such, we believe the project to be an invaluable aspect of Perth & Kinross Council’s aspirations to transform the city’s cultural offer, and we hope to be a part of it.

“The revamped City Hall will bring this much-loved civic building back into use, delivering great, fully accessible, community and creative learning spaces for the people of Perth, as well as being an attraction within its own right.

“We have successfully worked on some of Scotland’s most treasured and sensitive historic buildings, including the National Museum of Scotland, the Scottish National Gallery, in Edinburgh, and Aberdeen Art Gallery. For this reason we are excited by the opportunity to work with Perth & Kinross Council, and offer our expertise in achieving their vision for Perth City Hall.”

A spokesperson from Mecanoo said: “Mecanoo admires the aspirations for the Perth City Plan and having helped other cities in this process in the past, we feel that the City, Culture Perth and Kinross and Mecanoo could form a credible partnership to enable Perth & Kinross Council to realise this ambition.

“Revitalising and energising heritage assets such as Perth City Hall is something we enjoy being part of and we thrive at the opportunities these types of buildings present. The grain of Perth with its charming/lovable vennels is similar to typical Dutch towns and is, we feel, to be celebrated. We see Perth City Hall and its surrounding public realm as an asset to be capitalised on to provide economic prosperity through a cultural offer of international significance and we are excited to be invited to bid for the project.

“As an International practice, Mecanoo prides itself on making lasting and meaningful relationships in different locations all over the world. This partnership would form another start to a hopefully longstanding relationship in the region. The Mecanoo past and current portfolio provides examples of very similar projects where our value has been proven including recent work in Oldham Heritage and Arts Centre and Het Hof van Nederland Museum, the Netherlands.”

Mark Hopton, a partner at LDN Architects, said: “LDN Architects carry out work throughout the UK and are best known for our award-winning approach to conservation complemented with creative contemporary design which recognises that history must be made in the 21st century as well as respected.

“Historic buildings like Perth City Hall are essential to the character of our towns and cities and reflect our civic pride and history. They create a sense of place that helps define who we are and have the potential to be at the heart of contemporary community and cultural life. The challenge for the project team is therefore to define which elements of the City Hall and its site must be preserved, conserved and restored in order to protect, reveal and enhance their significance and, in doing so, identify less important elements that can be adapted sympathetically to ensure that the City Hall can function sustainably in the 21st century and contribute successfully to the vitality of modern life. The project offers the opportunity to make the City Hall, once again the thriving civic centre piece of Perth and to transform its immediate surroundings, particularly its relationship to St John’s Kirk.

“LDN have won Europe’s top Awards for Conservation, the European Union / Europa Nostra Awards for Cultural Heritage several times for our work on nationally significant historic buildings including our work for Historic Scotland over ten years at Stanley Mills; our conservation and development work at Abbotsford, the world famous home of Sir Walter Scott; and the conservation and development of the Knockando Woolmill in Moray. Recently, we completed alterations to St John’s Kirk of Perth and the redevelopment of the Assembly Rooms in Edinburgh. We are currently completing the redevelopment of the McEwan Hall and Bristo Square in Edinburgh for Edinburgh University and the redevelopment of the Piece Hall in Halifax, rated as one of the top forty best public squares in the World.”

A spokesperson for Richard Murphy Architects said: “Richard Murphy Architects are pleased and excited to be considered for The Perth City Hall project which offers the chance to make a vibrant and exciting new gallery and exhibition space within one of the most important buildings in the centre of the City. We are interested in the idea of breathing new life into a historic structure and creating a place that makes a real contribution to the cultural and social life of Perth, the wider Tayside region and Scotland as a whole.

“We were the Architects for Dundee Contemporary Arts and the Stirling Tolbooth Arts Centre – we have just completed the new Carnegie Galleries and Library in Dunfermline which opens to the public on May 18th and are currently working on the transformation of Perth Theatre which will be complete later this year.”

Graham Ross, Partner and Glasgow studio principal at Austin-Smith:Lord, added: “Our team are thrilled to be shortlisted for this exciting project. Once again extending our longstanding collaboration with internationally renowned architects, MVRDV of Rotterdam, with whom we are preparing the (Y)our City Centre masterplans for Glasgow City Council will bring an added dimension to the project. Redefining Perth City Hall as an innovative and contemporary cultural space presents a significant opportunity for the City to create a world-renowned destination that will benefit the local community and raise Perth’s international profile. We all can’t wait to start.

“Drawing upon our vast experience of delivering high quality contemporary arts and culture projects within sensitive historic environments we are anticipating an exciting challenge to fuse Perth’s past, understand its present and outline what is possible for City Hall in the future. If selected we would combine our in-house expertise in architecture, conservation, streetscape design and urban planning to work collaboratively with people in Perth to create a distinctive vision for their City Hall.”