Taoiseach, Micheál Martin T.D. and Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin T.D on July 23 announced that the contract for the design for the redevelopment at the historic Crawford Art Gallery has been awarded to Grafton Architects.
The overall plan provides for the investment of some €29m in the redevelopment, including design, of the 200-year-old Gallery building over the next four years.
Crawford Art Gallery is a National Cultural Institution, located in the heart of Cork city and dedicated to the visual arts, both historic and contemporary. The collection comprises over 3,000 works, ranging from eighteenth-century Irish and European painting and sculpture, through to contemporary video installations. It has over 260,000 visitors per year.
The gallery located in an important historic building, parts of which date back to the early eighteenth century. The building needs significant enhancement to meet the evolving demands of a dynamic National Cultural Institution.
Through Project Ireland 2040, the Government is investing €460 million in Ireland’s National Cultural Institutions to revamp and modernise their facilities both in terms of visitor experience and storage of the national collections.
The Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin T.D approved last September the business plan for the Crawford Gallery.
As part of this overall plan, Grafton Architects have now been selected as the principal design consultants following a two-stage procurement process. They will be responsible for providing all construction-related technical advice and design services to the Crawford Art Gallery and the OPW in respect of the Project.
Speaking at the announcement, the Taoiseach said: “This is a big public investment by the State in Cork City – which supports Cork’s regeneration into being a forward thinking European Cultural City. It is an extraordinary opportunity to reimagine the Crawford Art Gallery’s potential and create a vibrant new space for art and the public to meet in the heart of the city.
“Grafton Architects are an internationally renowned architecture firm with projects spanning from Milford to Milan, and from Lima to London, and I have no doubt that they will bring their experience and skills to bear in interpreting and developing the unique characteristics of the Crawford Art Gallery.”
Minister Catherine Martin said: “I would like to thank the Chair and Director and team in the Crawford for their commitment to the redevelopment project and in continuing to deliver a wonderful artistic programme, both here in the Gallery and on-line that is so important for the wellbeing of our citizens, especially during these difficult times.
“This has been a very challenging time for artists and I was very pleased to put in place last year an Art Acquisition fund which resulted in the purchase of 422 artworks by 70 artists working in Ireland for the national collection. This scheme has been a huge success and provided vital support to our artists while at the same time enhancing the national collection. It is inspirational to see some of the works purchased under the scheme on display here today.”
Speaking on behalf of the Board and staff, Rose McHugh, Chair of the Crawford Art Gallery, welcomed the appointment of Grafton Architects as lead Designers for this major redevelopment of the Crawford. “We are delighted to have Grafton Architects leading the interdisciplinary design team, and we look forward to working with a practice that demonstrates creative vision together with a strong collaborative ethos.
“Our progress in this project to date has being based on collaboration. We have strong and productive support from the Office of Public Works (OPW) and from the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media. We are also grateful to Fáilte Ireland for their support and for their recognition of the Crawford as a significant attraction, and to Cork City Council for their continued support.
“Now, we look forward to collaborating with the Grafton team. With their support in this redevelopment, we will ensure that the Crawford can continue to be a place of opportunity for artists and all those interested in art, education, architecture and civic discourse. This next phase of development of the Crawford Art Gallery is a once-in-a-century opportunity to enhance the architectural and artistic life of our city and region, and we look forward to the journey.”