The transformation of Aberdeen’s historic and much loved Music Hall is one giant step closer, with the successful completion of major structural and civil engineering works this month.
The most ambitious and challenging phase of the project has been excavating below ground to expand the basement to make room for new public toilets, in turn freeing up space on the ground floor, which will become the beating heart of the building, with a new creative learning studio, café and bar, relocated box office and a new, intimate performance space.
The works have also included significant excavations to install three new lifts to allow everyone, including people with restricted mobility, to access all levels from basement to balcony for the first time in the building’s history.
Sean O'Callaghan, Area Director for Kier Construction Scotland, the main contractor on site, said: “We’ve been working on the incredibly complex structural challenge of enlarging the basement to the main auditorium in what is a 200-year-old, category A-listed building. Now that the critical structural engineering work has been expertly completed, we are out of the ground and ready to begin breathing life into the exciting new blueprint.”
Jane Spiers, APA’s Chief Executive said: “We undertook substantial site investigation before going out to tender and this helped to mitigate the risk, but we have faced some significant structural challenges in creating the new basement level. I am pleased to say that we have successfully overcome these challenges as a consequence of some amazing feats of structural engineering, creative workarounds, an expert team passionate about the project and good project management.”
She continued: “Despite the complexity of the project we have remained true to our original vision with a 10% projected variance on the tender sum. We are still working within the budget available to us, with all the significant risk behind us. The impact on programme is that we will be opening in the fourth quarter of 2018 rather than the third quarter but we are still on track to open in 2018. This is a once-in-a-generation project to secure a long term future for the Music Hall. We look forward to inviting artists and audiences from all around the world to step back in to our transformed Music Hall.”
The projected cost of the Music Hall Transformation is £8.7m and to date APA has raised £6.7m equating to 78% of the fundraising target. Aberdeen Performing Arts is a charitable trust, with the aim of making a positive difference to individuals, communities and the city through arts and cultural activity. The charity has been saving for almost a decade to bring the Music Hall Transformation to fruitionand has invested £1,500,000 of the trust’s own reserves into the project,
with the remainder coming from Trusts and Foundations, major donors and corporate sponsors, and a public fundraising campaign.
“We are happy to be able to invest in the cultural life of the city in this way” said Ms Spiers. “We are so grateful for the support we’ve received to date. We’re now on the last lap of the fundraising campaign and we are thankful for the ongoing support of the people of Aberdeen and the North-east.”
To find out more about the Music Hall Transformation and to choose a way to support the cause, visit http://www.aberdeenperformingarts.com/musichall/give-a-gift