National Museum, Edinburgh
On Friday 29th July 2011, visitors to the newly opened National Museum of Scotland could take their first look at the stunning redevelopments which have transformed the Royal Museum. The building, which had previously been voted the ‘best-loved’ Edinburgh building of the last 150 years by the Edinburgh Architectural Association, stands proud in the hearts of Scots, so a positive reception to the new design was critical.
The transformation, led by Gareth Hoskins Architects, had to keep the inherent beauty and historic features of the existing building while increasing public spaces by 50 per cent. The new design created sixteen new galleries,
a new café and learning centre, and an additional 800m2 of exhibition space. It has enabled the display of thousands of new treasures – 80per cent of which are on display for the first time.
A fire safety solution was developed. It was a challenging environment because of the age of the building, the fact that it was a Grade 1 listed building and the short time frame involved. The engineers installed all automatic smoke and fire curtains, many of which were hidden behind the arches to retain the aesthetic impact of the original building.