National Museum of Rural Life, East Kilbride

The National Museum of Rural Life is a threshold on the edge of East Kilbride New Town into the historic agricultural landscape of Scotland. Seemingly constructed in the utilitarian garb of the traditional agricultural building form, it in fact disguises a large cluster of storage, museum display and support office and meeting functions. Designed within a rectilinear extruded spiral of 7.5m wide barns, in places broken to reveal the view, they define a circulation ramp which descends from the entrance down past the display and storage areas to the museum court, from which the National Trust for Scotland landscape and buildings beyond can be accessed.

This hybrid building structure of individual barn and spiral extrusion allows the farm objects to sit with the intimacy of the small scale barn but at the same time be part of a greater museum whole. The lower farming court offers flexibility to present objects in a more open form. Of course agriculture today does not operate at this intimate level and this is reflected in the lower ground floor harvester store which secretly underpins the museum above.

This building pioneered the approach of using ventilation and heating to regulate internal temperature and humidity and avoid the need for air-conditioning.