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Some 14,000m2 of gypsum fibreboard from fermacell is currently being installed on the £30 million redevelopment of Aberdeen Art Gallery.
The square-edged boards are being used throughout to dry-line the “Inspiring art and music” project – a major redevelopment by Hoskins Architects of the Grade A listed gallery, Cowdray Hall and Memorial Hall complex into a 21st Century venue for art and music.
The 6,000m2 redevelopment will see the transformation of the three buildings through significant investment in their fabric, new exhibition and display galleries, and improved facilities for visitors.
Being installed by specialist sub-contractor DBM Building Contractors for main contractor McLaughlin & Harvey, the fermacell boards will help bring the gallery into the 21st Century as large paintings and objects up to 50kg per cavity fixing and 30kg per screw can be hung from them without recourse to pattressing. This process is time consuming and more expensive in terms of materials and labour. The fermacell boards are also manufactured from recycled materials and are wholly recyclable in themselves, helping towards BREEAM ratings.
The project involves new educational facilities to create opportunities for all to learn more about the arts and the planned sensitive upgrading of Cowdray Hall to create a new performance space. The Memorial Hall will also be carefully treated to reflect both its role as a space for quiet contemplation and as a civic space to honour the sacrifices made on behalf of the community.
Interior plans include the creation of 21 gallery spaces in place of the existing 11,500m2 space in which to showcase international-quality exhibitions and a community gallery in a new wing at the rear of the building. Exterior plans involve removing the pitched roofs and skylights behind the parapets of the main building and adding a new storey of accommodation for temporary galleries and a learning zone.
Hoskins Architects won the national competition to redevelopment and expand the complex which has a significant presence within the city and houses an exceptional collection, particularly of Scottish colourists and contemporary artists. Their proposals include the new copper-clad rooftop extension which acts as a symbol for the gallery’s rejuvenation and creates a striking presence for the gallery within the city.
Designed as a new sculptural element in response to the proportions of the existing frontage, the extension achieves the city council’s ambitions to create a world-class venue for art and music. The extension makes use of the outdoor rooftop terraces by offering spectacular views across Aberdeen.
The space contains a suite of new environmentally-controlled temporary galleries as well as much-needed learning and event spaces, providing bold new interiors that will engage and inspire visitors. These new spaces provide the gallery with the ability to accommodate large international touring exhibitions with their associated education and corporate events.
Aberdeen City Council's deputy leader Cllr Marie Boulton said: "This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to achieve something really special for Aberdeen and by rejuvenating and improving these much-loved buildings we will create a world-class cultural centre which will celebrate art and music for all."
The buildings will reopen in 2017.
*Photograph credit: Hoskins Architects