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MUMA wins contest for £7m overhaul of Lake District art gallery

Abbot Hall Art Gallery in Kendal, Cumbria
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McInnes Usher McKnight Architects (MUMA) has won the competition for a £7 million overhaul of the Grade I-listed Abbot Hall Art Gallery in Kendal, Cumbria

The London studio – working with Julian Harrap Conservation Architects and landscape architect Sarah Price – defeated an undisclosed shortlist.

The scheme, for arts and heritage organisation Lakeland Arts, will upgrade the 1759 John Carr-designed country house which was rescued from demolition and transformed into an art gallery in the early 1960s. MUMA will design new accessible galleries, a double-height project space along with a new learning area, collections store, café, shop and visitor centre.

Lakeland Arts’ chair of trustees Martin Ainscough said: ‘The redevelopment of Abbot Hall and surrounding estate will create a world-class cultural destination for visitors in the heart of Kendal. We are thrilled to be working with MUMA on the scheme.

‘We see this important project as integral to the delivery of wider local and regional strategies within Cumbria and look forward to working closely with our community partners and audiences over the coming months as we develop the scheme.’

MUMA partner Stuart McKnight said: ‘We are delighted to have been appointed as the architects for this fascinating commission. The wonderful collection, the historic buildings and the special site together offer great potential for a transformative project.’

The gallery, on the edge of the Lake District, holds more than 6,500 items including artworks by JMW Turner, John Ruskin, Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore, and Kurt Schwitters. Its overhaul is planned to complete in 2022

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Phil Parker

    Looking forward to reading more about this project. Know the existing building well.

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