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At last: work finally starts on MUMA's contest-winning Whitworth Gallery revamp

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Construction has started on the £12 million overhaul of Manchester’s Whitworth Art Gallery - more than three years after MUMA won the RIBA-backed competition

The revamp and extension scheme, which picked up £8 million of Heritage Lottery Funding in early 2011, will double the size of the public space and create a new entrance onto Whitworth Park.

The project includes a new North Wing, housing a landscape gallery and a new study centre. A promenade gallery will lead to the South Wing, featuring ‘a new café and a learning studio opening into the art garden’.

MUMA landed the commission in September 2009 following a highly popular competition which attracted 130 entrants. The other finalists were Amanda Levete Architects, Edward Cullinan Architects, and Stanton Williams (see below).

Previous story (AJ 30.09.2009)

MUMA wins Whitworth Gallery contest

Victory in competition to revamp and extend Manchester’s Whitworth Art Gallery after process that attracted 130 practices

The practice’s plans for the development include an art garden and second entrance, a new informal ‘cafe in the trees’, a landscape gallery and study area allowing visitors and researchers to get closer to the collections when they are not on public display. Plans will be worked up during the next year and will be presented as part of the final stage of the Whitworth’s Heritage Lottery Fund bid in 2010.

Tom Bloxham, chair of the judging panel and chancellor of the University of Manchester said: ‘All the shortlisted designs were outstanding and had unique strengths, however MUMA’s design shone in its thoughtful and sensitive response to a complex brief.

‘Amongst many delightful touches the prospect of visiting a cafe in the tree canopy was particularly enjoyed, along with many further connections between gallery and surrounding park landscape. MUMA demonstrated care not only in the development of new designs but also in their consideration of improvements to the existing building.’

In an AJ website poll of 700 readers, 59 per cent selected MUMA as their favourite shortlisted scheme.

MUMA (McInnes, Usher, McKnight Architects) was established in 2000 after the principals met as students at the Mackintosh School of Architecture. MUMA has recently completed the extension and refurbishment of the original Newlyn Art Gallery and the conversion of a redundant telephone exchange in Penzance, into ‘The Exchange’, a new contemporary art gallery, the re-design of the restaurant at the Royal Academy of Arts in London and the new restaurant and café for the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.

Currently MUMA’s foremost public project is the new £30m Medieval & Renaissance Galleries for the Victoria & Albert Museum in London which opens 2nd December 2009.

MUMA's Whitworth Gallery winning proposals

MUMA’s Whitworth Gallery winning proposals

Previous story: September 30, 2009

Picked from nearly 140 entries, the shortlisted practices are: Amanda Levete Architects, Edward Cullinan Architects, Haworth Tompkins, MUMA and Stanton Williams Architects.

The winner of the much-anticipated RIBA-organised contest will land the prize project of overhauling the Grade II-listed gallery and designing a new addition to the building’s south-west side, overlooking Whitworth Park.

click here to read the full competition timeline

Previous story (13.08.09)

Hadid misses out as final five for Whitworth Gallery named

Zaha Hadid, Dixon Jones and Feilden Clegg Bradley have all failed to make it onto the final shortlist in the contest to revamp and extend the Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester

However, Amanda Levete, Stanton Williams and Ted Cullinan are still in the running to win the much-anticipated RIBA-organised contest – the winner of which will land the prize project of overhauling the Grade-II listed gallery and designing a new addition to the building’s South-west side overlooking Whitworth Park.

The trio are joined by Haworth Tompkins and MUMA and have have until mid September 2009 to work on their concept designs. All five propoals will go on display in October and a winner will be announced in November.

Full contest shortlist

Amanda Levete Architects
Edward Cullinan Architects
Haworth Tompkins
Stanton Williams




At last: work finally starts on MUMA's contest-winning Whitworth Gallery revamp

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