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National Museum of Rural Life

National Museum of Rural Life

Key Facts

Client

National Museums Scotland

Location

Wester Kittochside, East Kilbride

Value

£5,200,000

Internal Floor Area

4600m2

Completion

January 2001

A modern barn to house the national rural life collection

Project Info

Kittochside, the National Museum of Rural Life, acts as a threshold into the historic agricultural landscape of Scotland. A time-capsule farm gifted to the National Trust was the catalyst to bring the national museum to this site on the edge of East Kilbride.

Constructed in a utilitarian style suited to the farming implements it holds, the building embraces the idea of an accessible museum store. A simple barn module is arranged in a rectilinear spiral that creates a rich route for the visitor to follow, framing a ramped descent between the closed but visible collection in storage, interpretive displays, and the oldest fixed mill in existence.

A robust pre-cast concrete frame and exposed brickwork set the tone for the museum displays and contribute to the passive control of the museum environment.

 

City & Land

The competition for the new museum identified a site on the field sloping down from the historic farm of Wester Kittochside. The critical move was to place the new building on the wedge of land left over when the dual carriageway was built, leaving the historic field pattern intact. This anchored the new building as a gateway between the new town of East Kilbride and the historic farm landscape, taking the visitor on a journey back to a pre-industrialised landscape of rigs and hedgerows.

Arts & Culture

Accessibility for all was a driving force in the building design. By exploiting the topography of the site, the visitor enters at the upper level of the building and follows a descending ramped route between the barn galleries. The approach to construction was inspired by the practical beauty of the collection, a robust palette of brick, concrete and timber echoes that found in a typical farm steading, which becomes the backdrop to the exhibition design.

Briefing & Interiors

The exhibition design was a joint effort between Page\Park and NMS. The overarching themes of Land, Tools and People provided a framework to guide the design approach to each gallery. An abstract wedge clad in earthy, rusted steel provides the back drop to the land gallery, bespoke mobile trucks hold the tools in the central gallery, while a more domestic scaled space finished in raw plaster provides a home for the costumes and artefacts of the people gallery.

Testimonial

“This building is a breath of fresh air: intelligent, thoughtful architecture out in the country.”

Adrian Welch Glasgow Architecture website

Selected Awards

Scottish Design Awards 2002 - Best Public Building and Architectural Grand Prix 


Dynamic Place Awards 2001 - Highly Commended 


Glasgow Institute of Architects Design Award 2001 


Consultants

Structural Engineer: Will Rudd Associates
M&E Engineer: Harley Haddow LLP
Landscape Architect: Ian White Associates
Cost Consultant: Thomas & Adamson
Contractor: Skanska