BAM makes a little bit of history with museum handover
Located on Abbot Street within the town’s heritage quarter, the new museum joins two existing B-listed buildings, the existing Carnegie library and a former bank branch, and has added a purpose-built modern extension to the rear overlooking the grounds of Dunfermline Abbey.
Since being appointed to the project by hub East Central Scotland and Fife Council in 2014, BAM has worked with architect Richard Murphy to create a building that seamlessly moves from old to new and blends a very modern extension into three listed facades. Although set in quite a small footprint, the three storey building makes up in design what it might lack in size. It features galleries with floor to ceiling glass offering panoramic views over Dunfermline’s heritage quarter and out into Fife, two museum display floors and a stunning tiered study area for reading and research. The café area opens out to a landscaped outdoor seating and a children’s play area.
The project has been finished in high quality materials throughout to last as long as the heritage projects that form part of it and surround it.
Bruce Dickson, regional director at BAM Construction said: “While the term can be overused these days, it is difficult not to look at this as an iconic building for Dunfermline that will attract people not only because of what’s on display inside, but because of the building itself.
“Everyone involved in the project should be applauded. Our clients for their vision in embarking on such an ambitious scheme as far back as 2007, the designers for working with us to make that vision possible and the BAM site team who have not had the easiest job of turning all those visions into reality. The combination of refurbishment of listed buildings, very modern glazed new build extensions, significantly restricted access and working space and multiple interfaces made this a very difficult and challenging project. I actually only fully appreciated just how complex it was when I visited the site towards the end of the job and could see everything coming together.
“After all of that effort, it’s difficult to see how this cannot have a positive effect for the town.”
Councillors and officials from Fife Council along with project partners undertook a preview tour of the building which will open to the public in spring 2017.
Cllr Helen Law, chair of the City of Dunfermline Area Committee at Fife Council, added: “It’s great to see Dunfermline’s new focal point almost ready to welcome visitors, everything is coming together beautifully. It’s a hugely significant investment in the town centre that we hope will attract up to 280,000 visitors annually as well as contribute a visitor spend of at least £500,000 each year to the local economy.
“The new museum is set to showcase never before seen objects from Dunfermline’s rich history and will demonstrate our unique and important place in Scotland’s history.
The new facility, which will be operated by Fife Cultural Trust, has received funding from Fife Council, the Heritage Lottery Fund, and the Carnegie Dunfermline Trust.
Fife Cultural Trust’s chief executive, Heather Stuart, believes the new building offers a unique opportunity to welcome visitors with a mixture of the contemporary and heritage.
She said: “It is a great privilege for Fife Cultural Trust to be operating such a fantastic new visitor attraction. It will be a superb museum with world class exhibition spaces along with the first Carnegie library in the world.”
BAM Construction has a track record of delivering heritage buildings having completed the Riverside Museum in Glasgow and the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh and is currently building the V & A Museum of Design in Dundee.