The Burrell Collection is one of Europe’s finest museums, housing over 9,000 works of art in a rare Category-A listed post-war Scottish building. Designed by Barry Gasson, Brit Andresen and John Meunier, In recent years the building had become unfit for purpose, with water ingress, poor energy performance, issues with accessibility and lacking flexibility, which was reflected in dwindling visitor numbers. JMP led a five-year £68m renovation project, which revitalised the museum without sacrificing its original character. After extensive consultation the team defined three key objectives: repair failing fabric and improve environmental performance; adapt the interior to meet contemporary visitor needs; and improve connections to the surrounding Pollok Country Park.
The intersection and connection of The Burrell with the surrounding Pollok Country Park was an important narrative of the original design, with its connection to the open parkland to the south and the woodland to the north forming the wall of the iconic ‘walk in the woods’ gallery. The updated landscape design looked to respect this whilst carefully integrating new elements to engage with a wider demographic of visitors and increase wellbeing. Improving connection from the museum to surrounding parkland, providing new spaces for socialising and relaxation, including a café terrace and amphitheatre, whilst also greatly improving accessibility and legibility to the museum.
The renewal project has led the way in sustainable museum design, with the Burrell being the first refurbished museum in the UK to achieve BREEAM Excellent, a significant achievement for a Category-A listed building. Through innovative design, the Burrell now saves 626 tonnes of CO2 per annum, equivalent to a 51% saving, by improving weathertightness, reduced energy demand and better environmental controls. These sustainability goals were met whilst increasing the atmospheric stability required for artefacts and enhancing the architecture, safeguarding both the heritage and future of the institution in one. Furthermore, a majority of existing materials were recycled or reused, including reuse of aluminium glazing frames which saved over 8.5 tonnes of aluminium.
The primary aim of the project was to make the building suitable to house a world class collection of artefacts. This included: · Conservation of the Category A listed building fabric and correction of the fundamental flaws of the original design · A major upgrade in the environmental conditions for the artefacts, both of the building envelope and the display cases, with sustainability high on the agenda · Upgrade of the accessibility of the museum to modern standards. As well as overcoming physical barriers to accessibility, this also included making the building more open to people who are less familiar with visiting museums. It also included making a much larger proportion of the artefacts accessible to visitors by opening the collection stores to the public · Providing flexibility of use – its reconfigured layout allows the Museum to be used in a number of flexible ways. The existing entrance wing is now also an education wing which can be used out of hours. Additional entrances to the expanded restaurant to be used during the evening as a destination for visitors. A new informal raked seating agora is a central circulation hub and can be used for lectures or performances. A new temporary exhibition and events spaces has its own entrance connecting to an adjacent outdoor events space allowing Glasgow Life to hold large scale events such as music festivals · Providing revenue generating opportunities, as described above
"The Burrell Trustees are delighted that the new-look Burrell Collection has already attracted so many visitors, both local and international. This is testament to the quality of the collection, which has been imaginatively redisplayed and reinterpreted in a magnificent, state-of-the-art museum that offers something for everyone." Professor Frances Fowle, Senior Trustee, Sir William Burrell Trust
John McAslan + Partners is an award-winning international architectural practice based in London, with further studios in Edinburgh, Belfast and Sydney. An extensive portfolio of projects in the UK and overseas includes commercial, infrastructure, residential, education, hospitality, urban design, cultural, heritage and landscape sectors. The practice has won in excess of 200 international awards, including some 300 RIBA Awards, has been named Architectural Practice of the Year and World Architect of the Year on a number of occasions, and has also won three Europa Nostra Awards, the EU’s Prize for Cultural Heritage, and is the recipient of the prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise (International Trade) in 2014 and 2022.