Mecanoo

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.

Mecanoo approved to lead Perth City Hall transformation

Perth City Hall Mecanoo 4Perth & Kinross Council has formally approved the appointment of Mecanoo to redesign Perth City Hall, despite criticisms over its selection procedure.

The selection panel considering proposals from five shortlisted architects recommended the Dutch practice to transform the Edwardian venue into a £20 million major arts hub last week.

However the choice was criticised by the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS) which said the recommendation highlighted a “variance from the procedure set out in the bid documents”.

Scoring criteria to assess the shortlisted entries against the brief, which were developed by RIAS and agreed with council officers, were weighted 80% of the scoring criteria attributable to architectural quality and 20% to the fee price. The relatively high ratio of quality to price was agreed “to reflect the importance of the design concept to the council”.

report recommending the appointment of Mecanoo to the project show that the firm initially came third in the competition, based on the combined scores for quality of design and proposed fee.

The practice did, however, comfortably top the shortlist based on design alone.

Council officers felt the low marks on fees had disproportionally weighed against the firm, and that Mecanoo’s design concept “is the only one which, on the basis of the estimated construction cost, can be delivered for the available project budget”.

Backing the recommendation, the local authority said that the proposal from Mecanoo best meets the core requirements from the competition brief.

Following a meeting of the full council yesterday, a spokesperson told Scottish Construction Now: “Today councillors agreed to recommend to the East Central Scotland HubCo that Mecanoo be added to their list of approved architects for the redevelopment of the City Hall. This is a key Tay Cities Deal project which is part of the wider strategy to develop a cultural and creative industry corridor along the Tay.

“The project brief had three core requirements, a building which delivers the operational needs of a major museum attraction; responds sensitively to the surrounding public realm; and is affordable and deliverable within the £20m budget, £11m of which represented the construction cost element.

“Mecanoo’s design best met these core requirements of the brief in terms of quality and the ability to be delivered within the council’s agreed budget for the project. This design also attracted the greatest support from local residents and businesses and taking into account initial views from Historic Environment Scotland which is a statutory consultee.

“As part of our wider plans for the transformation of Perth, the council remains committed to delivering an outstanding cultural venue and we are looking forward to working with all our partners on this exciting next phase.”

The council voted in June to bring Perth City Hall 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.

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.

Austin-Smith:LordMVRDVHoskins ArchitectsLDN and Richard Murphy Architects were shortlisted alongside Mecanoo following a design competition which attracted global interest and over 70 initial expressions of interest.

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In its submission, Mecanoo said: “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.”

BAM Construction, which was appointed by hub East Central Scotland to redevelop the building, is expected to start work in 2019, with the grand opening scheduled for 2021.

RIAS ‘disappointed’ at Perth City Hall competition procedure

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The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS) has criticised the process for the selection of an architect to redesign Perth City Hall after the local authority was recommended to appoint a practice which did not win the competition.

It was revealed last week that the selection panel considering shortlisted architects are to recommend that Mecanoo should design the £20 million transformation.

Austin-Smith:LordMVRDVHoskins Architects, LDN and Richard Murphy Architects were also shortlisted following a design competition which attracted global interest and over 70 initial expressions of interest.

However, with councillors set to make their decision on the project this evening, the RIAS has said it could only concur with unsuccessful practices that “expressed their disappointment at the council’s variance from the procedure set out in the bid documents”.

Scoring criteria to assess the shortlisted entries against the brief, which were developed by RIAS and agreed with council officers, were weighted 80% of the scoring criteria attributable to architectural quality and 20% to the fee price. The relatively high ratio of quality to price was agreed “to reflect the importance of the design concept to the council”.

A report recommending the appointment of Mecanoo to the project show that the Dutch practice initially came third in the competition, based on the combined scores for quality of design and proposed fee.

The practice did, however, comfortably top the shortlist based on design alone.

Council officers felt the low marks on fees had disproportionally weighed against the firm, and that Mecanoo’s design concept “is the only one which, on the basis of the estimated construction cost, can be delivered for the available project budget”.

The Incorporation said last night that it had taken an “unusual step” in publishing its correspondence with the council.

In a letter to council leader Ian Campbell, RIAS president Stewart Henderson said the organisation agreed with shortlisted practices disappointed by the competition outcome.

He said: “We understand from council papers for this Wednesday’s meeting that the officers of the council are proposing to recommend Mecanoo to take forward the Perth City Hall project.

“You will appreciate this is contrary to the RIAS report following the recent quality/prize driven process for which we were appointed.

“Unsuccessful practices have expressed their disappointment at the variance from the procedure set out in the bid documents. We can only concur.”

Mecanoo named as recommended architect for Perth City Hall

Perth City Hall Mecanoo 3The selection panel considering architects shortlisted for the transformation of Perth City Hall are to recommend internationally-renowned firm Mecanoo to councillors next week.

The international design competition for the City Hall attracted global interest and over 70 initial expressions of interest.

Concept designs from five shortlisted architects were unveiled to the public in June as Austin-Smith:Lord/ MVRDVHoskins ArchitectsLDN; Mecanoo; and Richard Murphy Architects each submitted proposals for the exhibition.

The five design concepts were judged on how well they met the needs of visitors and delivered the requirements of a world class museum, affordability within the £20 million budget, and sensitivity towards the wider historic area surrounding City Hall.

Now Perth & Kinross Council, which is working with the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS) to manage the process, will consider a report recommending the appointment of Mecanoo to the project.

Perth City Hall Mecanoo 4Mecanoo is behind other major cultural projects including Birmingham City Library, the HOME arts venue in Manchester, and the New York Public Library. It has a strong track record in reinvigorating historic buildings for the 21st century sympathetically and working collaboratively with local communities to develop its designs.

The public engagement exercise received over 800 comments from local communities and cultural organisations, local businesses and others. Public support was in favour of Austin-Smith: Lord/ MVRDV and Mecanoo, with Mecanoo receiving the greatest number of positive responses from local people and businesses.

In its submission, Mecanoo stated: “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.”

Perth City Hall MecanooCouncil leader Councillor Ian Campbell said: “This has been a thorough, professional process. The final decision will be for councillors to make next week, but I’d like to thank all members of the public, local businesses and cultural organisations who took the time to contribute their thoughts. What is clear is that there is a shared enthusiasm to see progress made with the City Hall and the level of public engagement throughout this process has been very pleasing to see.

“This is an important milestone in transforming Perth’s key landmarks, and along with our other major cultural projects, such as Perth Theatre and Perth Museum and Art Gallery, it’s another step on our journey to make Perth one of Europe’s great small cities.”

Depute chief executive Jim Valentine added: “All five shortlisted firms are of the highest calibre which is testimony to the importance of the City Hall project not just to Perth and Kinross, but Scotland’s wider cultural landscape. It was a very tough decision for the selection panel, but Mecanoo stood out as having responded sensitively to the brief, conserving much of the historic building with an innovative and flexible design that will stand the test of time. The panel felt that Mecanoo paid particular attention to the needs of a wide range of visitors and the transformation of the area surrounding City Hall into a vibrant, inclusive civic space of which we can be truly proud.”

Perth City Hall Mecanoo 2Once an architect has been appointed, detailed designs will be drawn up. Planning and listed building consent are expected to be applied for in 2018, with work scheduled to start on site in 2019.

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

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.”

LDN

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.”

Mecanoo

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.

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.”