AJ Retrofit Awards
We are delighted to announce that we are the winners of two AJ Retrofit awards in the categories of ‘Cultural and Public Buildings’ and ‘Heritage and Listed Buildings.
The awards, announced on 16 September 2015, follow a major £15 million redevelopment project by MUMA (McInnes Usher McKnight Architects) which transformed the 126 year old Whitworth into a 21st Century gallery in the park. On 20 September we welcomed our 300,000th visitor since we reopened on 14 February this year, representing a 150% increase in visitors to our gallery. The Whitworth has become a genuinely international cultural attraction that is applauded by local residents and visitors all over the world.
Our Director, Maria Balshaw commented: “MUMA’s sensitive extension and restoration of our building unlocks our potential as a university art gallery in a park. The collection and the knowledge held inside now connects to our local community of park users and the elegant, generous spaces for art are drawing people in from all over the world. We are delighted to have the quality of MUMA’s architecture recognised by these awards.”
The redevelopment, which was supported by a major Heritage Lottery Fund grant, The University of Manchester, Arts Council England and other funders, has doubled public space and created state-of-the-art new facilities including expanded gallery spaces, a study centre, learning studio and collections centre.
At the heart of MUMA’s major renovation project is the creation of an elegant glass, stainless steel and brick extension, which sees two wings extend into Whitworth Park from the back of the existing 19th century building, connecting the gallery to the surrounding park beyond. For the extension, MUMA developed a unique Whitworth blend of British brick and a brickwork pattern with a traditional textile slash work effect, inspired by the gallery’s extensive textile collection. Vault exhibition gallery ceilings enabling the display of major, large scale international shows. Visitors can now also gain access to the reinstated Grand Hall on the first floor through glorious Edwardian staircases returned to public use for the first time in over 50 years.
The gallery is also shortlisted for The Stirling Prize, received a national award from RIBA and won the RIBA NW Building of the Year award earlier this year.