Progress on our Oxford Road entrance

9 10 2014

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Its been a while since the last blog post, but there has been much progress on site, with the biggest difference being visible at the Oxford Road side of the building. A month or two ago, staff ceased to be able to enter the building through the original portico and we currently have a temporary side entrance. From then onwards, our new contractors, Manchester & Cheshire have been busy reconfiguring the stone steps, removing the brick and terracotta walls and levelling out the ground to make our new landscaped frontage and sculpture terrace.

The following images chart this progress:

Each stone step is numbered before removal

Each stone step is numbered before removal

This one is number 38!

This one is number 38!

The brick structure beneath the stone steps revealed

The brick structure beneath the stone steps revealed

The Mike Lyons sculpture 'Phalanx' is carefully removed from site

The Mike Lyons sculpture ‘Phalanx’ is carefully removed from site

Foundations are put in place for siting sculpture and for the new steps and disabled access

Foundations are put in place for siting sculpture and for the new steps and disabled access

New stone steps are carefully aligned and laid in place

New stone steps are carefully aligned and laid in place

The base for a new set of steps is constructed near the gates onto Oxford Road

The base for a new set of steps is constructed near the gates onto Oxford Road

While the new build element of our project is still somewhat hidden behind the hoardings at the park side of the Gallery, everyone passing can enjoy progress at the Oxford Road side. We are now counting down to our reopening to the public on Saturday 14 February 2015 and excitement is growing – we can’t wait to welcome everyone back into our lovely building, both the old and the new.





Beautiful brickwork

6 09 2013

Screen Shot 2013-09-05 at 19.43.08 IMG_0798Beautiful brickwork

Over recent weeks as the solid and imposing mass of concrete goes up that forms our new Landscape Gallery backing onto Denmark Road and the other adjacent areas, including staff entrance, goods lift and meeting rooms, several people have asked me if the concrete will be the final finish. Well the answer is a very definite ‘No!’ The concrete shell will be faced with red brick, carefully chosen to blend with the existing building, and as I said in a previous post, much time and effort is currently going into brick samples, to ensure that our specialist subcontractors can produce exactly the effect that our architect’s MUMA have designed.

From an early stage in the development process, MUMA were keen to break up such a large expanse of brickwork with subtle patterns and turned to the Whitworth’s own collections for inspiration.  A meeting with our textile curators enabled the architects to look specifically at historic weave patterns, as can be seen in an image from one of their sketchbooks.  And so using a combination of bricklaying techniques and shaped faience pieces (see the image of a sample produced by a local company in Darwin), the commanding facade onto the road will be transformed with a contemporary, elegant brick weave design.