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Reiach and Hall wins Edinburgh gallery contest

Fruitmarket abblephotography
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Reiach and Hall Architects has won the RIAS-organised competition for a £2.4 million expansion of Edinburgh’s Fruitmarket Gallery

The winner of this year’s Doolan Prize for Scotland’s best new building was chosen ahead of a heavyweight shortlist which included 6A, Carmody Groarke Architects, and Page\Park.

The upgrade comes 25 years after local practice Richard Murphy Architects completed a comprehensive remodelling of the historic Market Street structure, originally built as a fruit and vegetable market in the late 1930s.

The project, planned to complete in 2020, will refurbish the landmark arts venue next to Edinburgh Waverley Station and create an extension occupying a neighbouring warehouse building.

Gallery director Fiona Bradley said: ‘We are really excited to be working with Reiach and Hall on the redevelopment of the Fruitmarket Gallery. We are impressed by the clarity and openness of their approach.

‘They share our values and, like us, are passionately committed to equality of access. They understand the local importance and international impact of the Fruitmarket Gallery, and we believe that they are the right practice to help us deliver a brave and progressive project.’

Reiach and Hall creative director Neil Gillespie said: ‘The exploration and presentation of contemporary art and art practice at an international level in Scotland is effectively carried by a handful of arts organisations. The Fruitmarket Gallery is a prominent member of this important group.

‘We are delighted to have been selected, against extremely strong and respected architectural practices, to assist the Fruitmarket Gallery in their ambition to extend the scope and breadth of the gallery’s capability, influence and reach.’

The gallery was founded in 1974 and exhibits work by contemporary international and Scottish artists. The complex also features a popular bookshop and café.

The latest project will upgrade the existing gallery and create a 200m² arts space within a neighbouring warehouse building. A new library, workshop, education space, art handling area and storage room will also be delivered.

Hoskins Architects won an earlier contest for the project in 2013 but the scheme was abandoned after the gallery failed to secure Heritage Lottery funding.

Reiach and Hall Architects later completed a feasibility study for the current scheme.

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