National Galleries of Scotland lodges 'ambitious' plans for new building

National Galleries of Scotland is to create a new storage facility, the size of two football pitches <i>(Image: Newsquest)</i>
National Galleries of Scotland is to create a new storage facility, the size of two football pitches (Image: Newsquest)

National Galleries of Scotland has submitted ambitious plans to construct a new storage facility for the country's vast collection.

Proposals for a building have been in the early stages of concept development since 2015.

Now known as The Art Works, the project aims to bring Scotland’s "extraordinary" national art collection not currently on display into a single, future-proofed location.

National Galleries said the collection is currently stored across several sites where access and space are extremely limited, logistics are difficult, and conditions are sub-optimal for enabling the full potential for public access, conservation and research to be realised.


It also means it can be challenging for works to be made available for display and loan.

It said the Art Works will be instrumental in addressing these issues, enabling much greater access to and engagement with Scotland’s collection of art treasures and safeguarding the future of the publicly owned, renowned national collection.


It will offer an additional 11,000m² of space - the equivalent of two playing fields – which aims to make the collection more accessible to the public than ever before.

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The purpose-built facility will deliver "a modern environment in which members of the public, colleagues, students and researchers can engage with the works stored there."

The Art Works will also have spaces for public use, including a community studio, further education room, collection viewing rooms and study spaces.

Outside there will be new green routes through to the Granton Waterfront regeneration area.


The historic collection of the Royal Scottish Academy will also be housed in the new building along with the home of the Demarco Archive.

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Sir John Leighton, Director-General of the National Galleries of Scotland said: ‘National Galleries of Scotland is happy to now be able to submit a full planning application following extensive consultation with the communities of North Edinburgh.

"This is an incredibly exciting moment in the realisation of The Art Works project.

"This entirely new facility will provide state-of-the-art spaces for the management and distribution of Scotland’s art, deliver world-class services for staff, researchers and visitors and provide a significant, long-term contribution to benefit and enhance the local community for years to come."

Prior to and following submission of the Proposal of Application Notice in May 2022, the National Galleries of Scotland, and their consultant design team, worked closely with the local community, key stakeholders and the planning authority to prepare the submission.