Reopening date announced for revamped Burrell Collection

The Burrell Collection in Glasgow is to reopen to the public on March 29  following its major refurbishment, the charity Glasgow Life confirmed today.

Reopening date announced for revamped Burrell Collection

The A-listed home of The Burrell Collection in Pollok Country Park is now a modern, greener museum that will show more of the Collection to visitors and give access to over a third more of the building.

Sir William Burrell devoted more than 75 years of his life to amassing, along with his wife, Constance, Lady Burrell, one of the world’s greatest personal art collections, renowned for its quality of Chinese art, exquisite stained glass, intricate tapestries as well as its breadth of fine art.

The donation of the Collection to the city was described at the time as: “One of the greatest gifts ever made to any city in the world.” (Sir Hector Hetherington, Principal of Glasgow University).

The Burrell Collection’s refurbishment will also bring new visitors to Glasgow’s south side and to Pollok Country Park to enjoy a full day out. Pollok Country Park is Glasgow’s largest green space and is home to Pollok House, Pollok Stables and Sawmill which will be redeveloped, spectacular gardens, woodside walks and play areas.  Paths and roads have been improved; benches, new signage, vehicle barriers restricting access along the main through route in the centre of the park have been installed, and electric vehicle chargers, electric shuttle bus stops, and NextBike bikes and e-bikes will prioritise active travel.

On reopening, the museum’s gallery space has increased by 35%, allowing important and unique objects from the Collection, which have not been seen for decades, or have never been on permanent display, to go on show.

New displays will give visitors a better understanding of the international significance of The Burrell Collection’s artworks and the people who made them and some of the people who have owned them. In total 225 displays will spread across 24 galleries. The displays include innovative digital elements such as video walls, interactives and hybrid systems created to help people engage with the stories behind the Collection.

A new central stairway will allow visitors access to the lower floor of The Burrell Collection for the first time, where they can watch items not on display being cared for. A new temporary exhibition space has also been created. Similarly, new galleries have been created on upper floors which will take visitors to spaces in the building they have never seen before.

The museum’s environmental performance has been enhanced by greatly improving the building’s exterior through a new roof, glazing and cladding, and by replacing power, heating and lighting systems with more efficient and sustainable technologies.

The changes made to the fabric of the building to make it more air tight and water tight, and new glazing make it far less susceptible to changes in heat, and the upgrades of plant and systems means the building is far more efficient, and able to take advantage of new technologies in the future to lessen its impact further. The building has achieved industry standard BREEAM rating of “Excellent” – a major achievement for a refurbishment.

Architects John McAslan + Partners, appointed in 2016, are the refurbishment project’s architect and landscape designers.

John McAslan, executive chair of John McAslan + Partners, said: “The Burrell Collection is one of Britain’s foremost cultural buildings of its time, an established part of Scotland’s architectural heritage, and a unique and popular cultural attraction. This project has transformed the building and its setting, within the context of its Grade A listing, to make it more sustainable and environmentally secure whilst retaining and enhancing its original architecture, offering additional gallery space and improving access to ensure a far greater proportion of the Collection can be enjoyed by all. The completed project will offer generations to come enriched experiences of this world-renowned Collection of art and artefacts from over 6,000 years of civilisation, in a museum environment that will welcome millions of visitors within its beautiful surroundings of Pollok Country Park.”

Bill Ritchie, director of environmental design consultants, Atelier Ten, said: “The refurbishment of The Burrell Collection has sensitively rejuvenated the museum by embracing many technical advances which were simply not at the disposal of the original designers. Advanced computer simulation has honed the specification of glass and fabric to ensure that the building relies less on outdated and energy consuming building services systems.

“Further modelling has examined sunpath and daylight patterns to ensure an optimal user experience whilst the Collection is conserved in an environment that is closely controlled employing latest heat reclaim technology as well as a vast roof mounted photovoltaic array. The result is a building that works harder creating a more pleasant environment with a significantly lowered carbon footprint.”

Nearly half of the funding for the £68.25 million project was committed by Glasgow City Council with more than a quarter coming from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, and significant donations from the Scottish Government, the UK Government, and from many generous trusts and private donors.

Councillor Susan Aitken, leader of Glasgow City Council, said: “The Burrell Collection is a place where everyone is welcome to appreciate one of the greatest personal collections ever assembled, housed in one of Scotland’s favourite modern buildings. Its A-listed home has been repaired and upgraded, its environmental performance has been dramatically improved, new displays have been created and thousands of local people were consulted about what they wanted to see. Visitors will be able to see more of the collection, more of the building itself and spend more time in Pollok Country Park. We look forward to welcoming the world to enjoy this spectacular museum.”

Councillor David McDonald, chair of Glasgow Life and depute leader of Glasgow City Council, said: “The Burrell Collection is one of Glasgow’s greatest treasures which deserves much greater recognition and appreciation around the world. The refurbishment of its A-listed home, which itself, is one of Scotland’s modern architectural triumphs, as well as the innovative and engaging redisplay of the Collection will ensure visitors have an unforgettable experience and return time and again to appreciate the breath-taking beauty of the art on display. At the same time, the connection between the city and The Burrell Collection and Pollok Country Park will grow even stronger as a result of the museum reopening.”

Share icon
Share this article: