Architect brought in to deliver major redevelopment of Preston's Harris Museum and Art Gallery

An architect has been appointed to deliver a major redevelopment project at the Harris Museum and Art Gallery.

Friday, 24th January 2020, 6:00 am
An architect has been appointed to deliver a major redevelopment project at the Harris Museum and Art Gallery.

The vision for the ‘Re-imagining the Harris’ project is to create an environment where the museum, library and art gallery are shared, bringing them together in a flexible and community-led hub.

Preston City Council, which is spearheading the revamp with grants from the National Lottery Heritage Fund hopes it will allow the Grade I listed building and its collections to be presented more effectively.

Coun Peter Kelly, cabinet member for culture and leisure at Preston City Council, said: “Appointing Buttress architects to deliver our ambitious Re-imagining the Harris project is a huge step towards making our vision a reality and ensuring it remains the city’s cultural hub.

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“The project will transform the building as we know it and form an exciting new creative and cultural space for the people of Preston now and for future generations.”

Opening to the public in 1893, the Victorian founders’ vision was that the Harris Free Library, Museum and Art Gallery would be the focus of culture, arts and learning, an embodiment of aspirations in late 19th century Preston.

The council says that the ‘Re-imagining the Harris’ project is inspired by those founders’ early ambitions, while also responding to the needs of the next generation.

Neal Charlton, director at Buttress, said: “The Harris has been at the centre of civic and cultural life in Preston for more than 125 years.

“This project will enhance the role the building plays in the community allowing it to reach new and more diverse audiences, while encouraging visitors to connect with its important collections in new ways.

“We are delighted to have been appointed to this significant project and looking forward to working with Preston City Council to bring the vision to life.”

The project will mean exploring the opening up of disused entrances and the reconfiguration of the interior to encourage footfall. A new staircase and lift will also be created along with the delivery of a maker space.