John Miller and Partners has won an international competition to design the refurbishment of the Royal Scottish Academy, which incorporates an underground link to the National Gallery of Scotland. It beat a shortlist of Simpson & Brown working with Pawson Williams; Terry Farrell & Partners; Law & Dunbar-Nasmith working with Richard Murphy; and, Mecanoo.
The John Miller solution includes a dramatic new stair at the south end of the Academy, wrapped around a lift and providing access to the underground link, which will house additional exhibition space; a lecture theatre and education suite; and a shop, a cafe and cloakrooms. This link is within the mound created from the spoil when the New Town was built. It will have an elevation and entrance in East Princes St Garden. The project, due for completion in 2003, also includes a thorough upgrading of the Academy Building - designed by William Playfair and completed in 1826 - allowing it to be used as a major international exhibition venue.
The Scottish Office has supplied half the £20 million total costs; the rest will come from donors and, the Academy hopes, from the National Lottery.