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John McAslan wins £75m National Galleries of Scotland archive job

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John McAslan + Partners has won a publicly tendered contract for a new £75 million low-energy archive for The National Galleries of Scotland (NGS) in Granton, Edinburgh

The London-based AJ100 practice defeated an undisclosed shortlist of firms to land the 30,000m² National Collections Facility (NCF) project earmarked for a waterfront site within the city’s brownfield regeneration zone.

The phased scheme will create a publicly accessible store to Passivhaus standard for more than 100,000 of the museum’s artworks, including paintings, sculpture, photographs and printed material. It is scheduled to complete in 2021 and images of the new facility have yet to be revealed.

An NGS spokesperson said: ‘The contract is to design a scheme which fully utilises the Granton site and will outline proposals for realising the site vision across what is expected to be four phases of construction. It is envisaged that the design would be submitted for detailed planning in winter 2017/18.

‘The NCF will be a purpose-built collection centre for the high-quality care, and the effective management and distribution of the national art collection. It will transform public access and will help deliver an international and national presence for research and education. The NCF will also be an exemplar of high energy and efficiency underpinned by the rigour of the Passivhaus building standard.’

The NCF will be constructed on a 4.5ha site which was formerly home to the Madelvic Motor Carriage Company, an early car manufacturing company, and features one surviving Category B-listed building. Owned by city astronomer William Peck, the company produced an electric car powered by a fifth wheel in 1898.

Nearby landmarks within the waterfront regeneration area include BDP’s 1,300m² Granton Centre for Art, completed for NGS in 2003, and the Hoskins Architects-masterplanned National Museums Collection Centre, which houses 12 million items from National Museums Scotland.

The latest commission comes three years after Hoskins Architects was appointed by NGS for a £15.3 million refurbishment of its main venue on The Mound in central Edinburgh.

Once completed, the NCF building will bring together the collections of the National Galleries of Scotland, the Royal Scottish Academy, the Demarco Archive and the Artist Rooms under one roof.

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