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RMJM wins firm footing for controversial artist's studio

RMJM has been given the green light to transform a 19th-century bathhouse into a new studio space and gallery for controversial Scottish artist Peter Howson.

The building, in Glasgow's Merchant City, will also become home for the artist, who is best known for his contentious religious drawings and for painting Madonna in the nude.

A key feature of the £750,000 project is a glass-walled studio space, which will allow passers-by and visitors to watch Howson and his students at work.

Derelict for more than 30 years, the bathhouse's existing sandstone shell will be retained. However, RMJM intends to build a new rooftop to house the artist's apartment.

The Bath-House Gallery project is the first venture for The Third Step, a charity created by Howson to help recovering alcoholics and drug addicts as well as to promote access to the visual arts.

RMJM Director Paul Stallan said: 'We have worked closely with The Third Step, not only on developing the brief and lodging a planning application, but also giving advice on site acquisition, marketing, the business plan and exploring funding avenues.

'It is a fantastic project to be involved in and we are delighted to have the opportunity to work with Peter Howson and his team.'

The gallery is expected to open in mid-2006.

by Richard Waite

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