London firm selected to design £42m Paisley Museum revamp

Paisley Museum

Architectural practice AL_A has been appointed to design plans for the £42 million Paisley Museum transformation project.

The revamp, a key project in Renfrewshire Council’s planned £100m investment in cultural venues and infrastructure, will create a new revitalised home for Paisley’s internationally-significant textile heritage and outstanding natural history, art and science collections.

Features include a contemporary addition to the existing Victorian-era building, creating a new entrance and museum spaces - including a cafe and shop - landscaping and significantly-improved access.

In addition, major revamps will be carried out to all four museum buildings including the Coats Observatory, while a complete internal redesign will reimagine the visitor experience and double the number of objects on public display.

London-based AL_A has designed numerous landmark projects, including the Victoria & Albert Museum Exhibition Road Quarter - for which it was awarded the prestigious RIBA London Building of the Year 2018 this week.

The firm was among more than 120 firms to tender for the Paisley Museum project and will lead an Anglo-Scottish multi-disciplinary design team including conservation consultants Giles Quarme and Associates, landscape architects GROSS.MAX and engineers Arup.

Founder Amanda Levete said the Paisley Museum project is “one of the most radical briefs I have read”.

“It triggered in us a desire to tell the untold history of Paisley and search for a narrative thread that will drive the design,” she said.

“The project is bigger than the building itself and I am excited to re-imagine the relationship between the street and museum.

“This is not only about finding the way to best show the museum’s collection, it’s also about showing the world how an ambitious cultural project can have a profound impact on a community and its identity.”

Cllr Lisa-Marie Hughes, chair of Renfrewshire Leisure, added: “For Paisley to have attracted a design team of such global reputation to come to Scotland for the first time shows we are being noticed around the UK and abroad.

“Being the first ever town on a UK City of Culture shortlist took our profile to new levels - but this appointment also says a lot about the scale and ambition of the museum project, and the worldwide importance of Paisley’s heritage and collections.”

The project is scheduled to be complete by 2022.

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