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Collective Architecture completes underground museum storage facility on Paisley High Street

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Set in a former department store, the project aims to revitalise the high street and provide convenient access to Renfrewshire Council’s museum collections

As well as creating a new museum store with climate-controlled conditions, the refurbishment facilitates behind-the-scenes visits for school groups and researchers, opening up the full collection to the wider public in a way that was not previously possible.

The project was developed through consultation with various stakeholders including Renfrewshire Council who delivered the project, Renfrewshire Leisure who will operate the facility and develop the services, and the Paisley Town Asset Strategy team regarding the improvement of the High Street.

Dsc 0138 kieran chambers

Dsc 0138 kieran chambers

Source: Kieran Chambers

Architect’s view

The design concept plays on the excitement a visitor will feel when entering the store via a narrow yellow entrance, descending into the deep, dark foyer. The scale of the store is dramatically revealed when entering the exaggerated long spine corridor, revealing the surprising depth of the facility. The corridor is animated by glazed screens providing enticing views into the store. A layer of graphics (developed in collaboration with ISO Design and artist Toby Paterson) further emphasises the scale and industrial nature of the space.

Due to the limited 2,100m² footprint of the existing building, Collective Architecture was initially tasked with a full survey and volumetric assessment of the existing collection. Options were developed to demonstrate that the proposed space could accommodate the entire collection with at least 10 per cent future expansion. A detailed storage design was subsequently developed to allow the storage-racking package to be put out to tender as a Design and Build package.

All the stores have individual work stations to allow curators to work closely with each collection. Collective Architecture is proud to have worked on this project with a client who has looked to exceed expectations for this awkward basement space by supporting innovative design solutions, which have lifted the museum collection from a standard store to a hidden gem on Paisley High Street.

Internal sections

Paisley: The Secret Collection by Collective Architecture, sections

Source: Collective Architecture


Project data 

Site start date June 2016
Completed October 2017
Gross internal floor area 2,200m²
Total cost £2.6 million
Client Renfrewshire Council
Architect Collective Architecture
Structural engineer David Narro Associates
Graphic designer ISO Design
Artist (colour strategy) Toby Paterson
M&E consultant Arup
Quantity surveyor Armour Construction Consultants
Principal designer Armour Construction Consultants
Main contractor Project Management and Construction

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