Building Design Partnership (BDP) has been picked from a shortlist of five architectural practices by Aberdeen Performing Arts (APA) to develop design proposals to breathe new life into the city’s Music Hall.
The company behind the multi-award winning redevelopment and restoration of Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow and the acclaimed new Perth Concert Hall, BDP was one of more than 20 firms to take part in an architectural design competition, commissioned by APA, the company which operates Aberdeen’s iconic venue at the musical heart of the city.
“A revitalised Music Hall has an important role to play in Aberdeen’s vision to be a vibrant, creative and ambitious city with a strong cultural identity, a centre of artistic excellence and a cultural tourism destination,” said APA Board chairman Graeme Roberts.
The Music Hall is a much-loved, much-used A-listed building, but more than 154 years of assemblies, concerts, fairs, functions, rallies, shows and cabarets have taken their toll and it desperately needs refurbishment.
“With the support of Aberdeen City Council, we felt that an architectural design competition would attract some innovative and original ideas for making the most of this iconic Aberdeen landmark,” he added.
“We were impressed by the approach presented by the BDP team which blended the restoration and conservation of the historic fabric of the building with innovative design led solutions to improving the customer experience.”
Work will begin straight away to develop designs for the Music Hall with a view to launching a fundraising campaign later in the year and submitting an application to Creative Scotland’s capital investment programme.
BDP architect director Bruce Kennedy said: “BDP is thrilled to be selected for this prestigious project. We are really looking forward to collaborating with APA and partners on the Music Hall project.
“The transformation of this wonderful ‘sleeping beauty’ of a building, into a truly great and popular cultural, civic and community asset, must be a key element in supporting city centre regeneration and APA’s vision for the future.”
Aberdeen Lord Provost George Adam said: "This is a hugely exciting time in the cultural life of Aberdeen as we prepare to make our submission to become the UK's City of Culture in 2017.
“The Music Hall is at the very heart of the arts in the city and will continue have an important role to play as we celebrate a year of culture in 2017 and beyond.
"I am certain that an architectural practice with such an impressive track record will come up with innovative ideas to breathe new life into one Union Street's most impressive buildings.
“This will be a major boost for the city centre and will help make the venue one of the leading lights in our City of Culture bid."
While the proposals are still very much in the early stages, APA have already carried out some improvements to the city centre building, by lifting the carpets in entrance hall and promenade to reveal the 190-year-old terrazzo flooring underneath.
The mosaic flooring, a hidden architectural gem, was covered by carpeting in the 1980s in line with the style of the times.