McManus Galleries

Page \ Park Architects, Dundee, 2009


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The new south-facing entrance 

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  • The new south-facing entrance    
  • The redesigned Albert Square is the setting for the refurbished gallery    
  • The west facade    
  • The existing gothic arches of the gallery inspired the refurbishment    
  • The Victoria Gallery displays work by Henry Raeburn and the Glasgow Boys    
  • The Here and Now exhibition shows contemporary art    
  • Internal space    
  • The Albert Hall’s blue walls reduce light transmission to exhibits    
  • Page\Park’s new stairwell is defined by the geometry of the vesica piscis    
  • The treads of the new staircase hang from the inner concrete shell    
  • Page\Park’s new stairwell is defined by the geometry of the vesica piscis    
  • The new stair works with George Gilbert Scott’s original to create a vertical circulation route that loops through the building    
  • The Landscape and Lives Gallery on  the ground floor    
  • The café faces the south side of Albert Square    
  • Basement floor plan    
  • Ground floor plan    
  • First floor plan    
  • South elevation    
  • Original basement floor plan    
  • Original ground floor plan    
  • Original first floor plan    
  • Section through new staircase    

Refurbishment of the historic McManus Galleries, built by George Gilbert Scott in 1867 to create a new south-facing entrance along with reworked interior spaces and new staircase

The interior of the Grade I-listed McManus Galleries has been remade; partitions accumulated since it was first built in 1867 have been removed and a new staircase installed to improve circulation.

The aim was to increase the permeability of the existing gallery by opening up the south face and creating a route through to the north half of Albert Square, thus helping to make the interior an ‘extension of the room-space of the city’. To realise this, a freestanding stairwell – a concrete shell with a lift at its core – replaces the old fire escape, creating an angled corridor that spirals through the space.

The new stairwell is contained within a vesica-shaped concrete shell, echoing the gothic-classical conversation between the McManus Galleries and the High School of Dundee. And while the treads of Scott's stair are cantilevered from its external wall, here they hang from the inner concrete shell. Likewise, the steel balustrades hang down, while on Scott's they rise up.


  • Begun: Jul 2006
  • Completed: Jul 2009
  • Floor area: 4,810m2
  • Sector: Arts and culture
  • Total cost: £9.5M
  • Funding: Dundee City Council, The National Lottery, European Union, Historic Scotland, Dundee Art Galleries and Museum Association, Scottish Enterprise Tayside and by public donation.
  • Tender date: 2006
  • Procurement: Traditional SBCC
  • Address: The McManus: Dundee's Art Gallery and Museum, Albert Square, Meadowside, Dundee, DD1 1DA, United Kingdom

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