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.

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