Architect MUMA and Landscape Designer Sarah Price has created a fresh modern feel for Manchester University's Whitworth Gallery. Two sparkling new extensions now connect the interior with surrounding parkland and two new sculpture gardens. The traditional red brick 19th century building looks dramatically different after a year long refurbishment and will open on Febuary 14th, 2015, with a much anticipated solo exhibition by British artist Cornelia Parker. Read on for a sneak preview inside the new spaces.
The Whitworth Gallery has adopted the hashtag #galleryinthepark because, after MUMA’s £15 million facelift, new glazed openings will allow visitors to feel at one with nature. Beautiful park vistas will appear alongside the white walled backdrop to the artwork collection. The most striking element to the redesign is the south facing cafe, a glass box cleverly suspended from the roof offers “dining in the trees.” MUMA developed polished stainless steel glazing elements to reflect trees and light so that the structure dissolves into the surroundings.
A new Art Garden located between the two extensions will be planted with grasses and sculpted evergreen hedges clipped to look like clouds. The Orchard Garden will feature English wildflowers. Designed by landscape architect Sarah Price, the new garden spaces will be home to over 90 sculptures.
Renovation of the existing building included restoration of high vaulted ceilings over the exhibition spaces and the reopening of old Edwardian staircases to connect the first floor gallery and grand hall. The Whitworth’s increased exhibition and public space will allow the gallery to show, share and care for its significant collection of over 55,000 historical and contemporary works. Grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Arts Council England and The University of Manchester made it all possible.
Images: Alan Williams