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Farrell explores the art of the possible

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Terry Farrell & Partners has ushered light and colour into a 'pauper's palace' , with a daring design of wall breaks and floor voids transforming an orphanage hospital.

National Galleries of Scotland's new Dean Gallery in Edinburgh (News, aj 15.4.99) will show off work by Sir Eduardo Paolozzi and masterpieces by Surreal and Dada artists. The three-storey Grade-A-listed block, which opened in late March, has nine galleries on two floors, in 3650m2 of multi- layered spaces with an education room, a library for the display of artists' books and an air-conditioned gallery for temporary exhibitions. The biggest, 120m2, exhibition space is on the first floor.

The nineteenth-century interior was a stark affair, carved into dormitories, teaching and sick rooms. It now has red and blue walls, a big shop and a cafe dedicated to Sir Isaac Newton, of whom a statue stoops over the centre of the space.

At the heart of the gallery is a bequest by Edinburgh-born Paolozzi of a large part of his sculpture, including a 9m figure with a ceiling void built around it.

Project architect Neil de Prez has risen to the challenge of blending the style and character of the existing building to the works of Paolozzi and the new interiors. Traditional materials were used, such as masonry and plaster.

The 15-bay building with portico is opposite the Gallery of Modern Art in the capital's Belford Road. The Dean was designed in 1833 by Thomas Hamilton, the Greek-revivalist architect, and housed around 200 orphans. The exterior has been left largely untouched with its clock face, swagged and scrolled decorative details and huge turrets. The Scottish Office gave £2.9 million towards the refurbishment of the building, with £6.3 million coming from the hlf.

Part of the award was to link the grounds of the gallery with the Gallery of Modern Art across the road with a sculpture park. Ian White Associates of Stirling is the landscape architect.

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