A six-storey extension is proposed for the almost three-hundred-year-old Crawford Art Gallery in Cork city as part of what Arts and Culture Minister, Catherine Martin, has described as a “once in a generation investment.”
Parts of the gallery date back to the early 18th century with the building being in need of significant enhancement and upgrading to meet the evolving demands of a dynamic National Cultural Institution. Some €29 million is to be spent on the development in the heart of the city.
Announcing the investment of funds in July, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said that the Crawford had “punched way above its weight for many years,” and was the only national cultural institution to be located in its entirety outside of Dublin.
The proposed project will provide significant new additional exhibition and public circulation areas, a new Learn and Explore facility, significant storage for the National Collection at Crawford, a new entrance and a dramatically improved public realm
The redevelopment of the Crawford is a flagship project under Minister Catherine Martin, Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media. The project is part of the programme of National Development Plan investments
The new build element includes 1,919 sq. m (GIA) of additional space and 3,641 sq. m (GIA) of refurbished and reconfigured space
A new Learn and Explore Space, which will be located in the heart of the new gallery, will ensure the gallery’s continued and historic commitment to learning and participation. From an environmental perspective, the gallery’s systems will be upgraded to align with current government policy on climate change.
A new loft-like gallery space will be provided on the top floor level. Management at the Crawford say that this “will be a gift back to visitors, where people can experience particular qualities of light and beautiful views over the city in different directions”.
Minister Martin said that the project will be “transformative” for the Crawford.
“Creating new public spaces, protecting the national collections and delivering the highest standards of sustainability, while also being central to the development of a new, vibrant urban plaza at Emmet Square.”
Meanwhile, the interdisciplinary design team is being led by Grafton Architects.Crawford Art Gallery and the Office of Public Works (OPW), supported by the Department, undertook multiple studies over a number of years to define the scope and potential of the existing gallery site.
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Following extensive appraisal works, a detailed business case was produced which considered and analysed a number of development options.
The primary goal of the gallery’s redevelopment project is to provide enhanced spaces which are fit for purpose, reflecting its national cultural status.
From an environmental perspective, the gallery’s systems will be upgraded to align with current government policy on climate change.
The collection at the Crawford Art Gallery comprises over 3,000 works, ranging from eighteenth-century Irish and European painting and sculpture, through to contemporary video installations. At the heart of the collection is a collection of Greek and Roman sculpture casts, brought to Cork in 1818 from the Vatican Museum in Rome.