Whitworth presses on with gallery expansion

Manchester University has opened the competition to select a contractor to build the £12m extension to the Grade 2-listed Whitworth Art Gallery on Oxford Road, Manchester.

The university received an £8m Heritage Lottery Fund at the start of the year for the project, which includes full refurbishment and reconfiguration of the existing gallery spaces. Additional funding for the project was raised from Whitworth endowments, charities and public donations.

Whitworth Art Gallery designWork on the 21-month build was due to begin in September. The redeveloped gallery was due to open in autumn 2013 but that target has now been put back to spring 2014. The project, designed by McInnes Usher McKnight Architects, will double the size of the public space, adding 4,000 sq ft of display area, and create an art garden and new main entrance from Whitworth Park. A new north wing will be built into the park, housing a landscape gallery where the Whitworth's international collection will be displayed. There will also be a new study centre and a promenade gallery leading to the south wing, comprising a new café and a learning studio opening into the art garden. Exhibition spaces on the first floor will be improved and the Edwardian staircases will be opened up into the Grand Hall. There will be three new barrel ceiling exhibition galleries with windows onto Whitworth Park.

Contractors can register their interest online here. The deadline for expressions of interest is 20 January.

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