Artist impression of the Crawford Art Gallery.

City art gallery submits redevelopment plans

The Crawford Art Gallery has said the building’s much loved character is to be retained after it yesterday submitted a planning application for its redevelopment.

The almost 300 year old building needs, the gallery said, significant enhancement and upgrading to meet the evolving demands of a dynamic national cultural institution.

Crawford Art Gallery and the Office of Public Works (OPW), supported by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, undertook multiple studies over a number of years to define the scope and potential of the existing gallery site. Following extensive appraisal works, a detailed business case was produced which considered and analysed a number of development options.

The primary goal of the gallery’s redevelopment project is to provide enhanced accommodation which is fit for purpose, reflecting its national cultural status. The proposed project will provide significant new additional exhibition and public circulation areas, a new Learn and Explore facility, significant storage for the national collection at Crawford, a new entrance and a dramatically improved public realm. The new build element includes 1,919 sq. m of additional space and 3,641 sq. m of refurbished and reconfigured space.

Crawford Art Gallery is located in a series of historical buildings, parts of which date back to the early 18th century right in the heart of Cork city.

Catherine Martin, Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, welcomed the submission for planning as a major step forward in the redevelopment project noting this project represents a once-in a generation investment for this important national cultural Institution, as part of the National Development Plan.

Rose McHugh, Chair of Crawford Art Gallery, said: “This is a significant milestone in the project. After years of consideration and design development, we are now in a position to bring the project to the planning process. We are mindful of the significance of Crawford, its buildings and the place it has in the hearts and minds of its very loyal audiences. We are hopeful that we can maintain the momentum with this project and deliver it for the city and the region.”

Mary McCarthy, Director of Crawford Art Gallery, said: “We are grateful for the design team’s attentiveness to our needs for our audiences and artists, ensuring that Crawford Art Gallery’s character is maintained, and that the building will be restored, renewed and extended, ensuring that it can thrive into the future. We are hugely appreciative of our audience’s feedback and loyalty.”

Grafton Architects said: “By carefully inserting a new top lit courtyard connecting into more of the existing beautiful rooms, expanding gallery space, creating purpose-built facilities for art storage and increasing and consolidating education facilities, this new redevelopment consolidates the historic and significant role that the Crawford plays in the cultural life of the city of Cork and beyond.”