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Amanda Levete set for £42m Paisley Museum revamp

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Amanda Levete’s AL_A is closing in on the fiercely contested commission to regenerate Paisley Museum and Art Gallery, it has emerged

Renfrewshire Council’s finance board will next week be asked to appoint a team led by AL_A to the £42 million overhaul of the Category A-listed Neoclassical building.

AL_A, which is headed by the winner of this year’s Jane Drew Prize, topped a council-run evaluation of seven shortlisted firms including WilkinsonEyre, Zaha Hadid Architects and Richard Murphy Architects. Bids were evaluated 80 per cent on quality and 20 per cent on cost.

The contract is worth £2.6 million, according to a report to councillors ahead of a meeting on 28 March. It is understood this would cover fees payable to other members of the multidisciplinary team.

The other shortlisted practices were MICA Architects - which came second in the evaluation process at this second stage - as well as MUMA and Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp.

Some 128 companies initially expressed an interest in the scheme, with 32 submitting an official request to participate, and undergoing an initial evaluation. 

AL_A came out on top of this initial scoring process, closely followed by WilkinsonEyre and then the other five shortlisted firms. 

Well-known practices not making the cut at this stage include Kengo Kuma & Associates, Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands, Hawkins\Brown, Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios and John McAslan + Partners.

Paisley Museum and Art Galleries hosts the world’s largest collection of Paisley shawls, along with many 19th-century Scottish paintings and local history artefacts. The 1871 complex was a gift to the town from local industrialist Peter Coats, and also includes a library and observatory.

The project to extend, renovate and refurbish the historic museum and art gallery.is expected to take five years from May 2018.

It aims to transform the John Honeyman-designed building into a leading European museum focusing on the historic town and its iconic decorative pattern.

Planned improvements include a new café, shop and reception fronting Paisley High Street, along with new public areas and upgraded internal circulation.

The appointment of AL_A remains subject to a council vote and other procurement processes.

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