The Art Works: Plans approved for new National Galleries of Scotland building

Image: An artist's impression of the planned The Art Works building (National Galleries of Scotland)

The combined community and storage facility, previously known as the National Collection Facility, will be built in North Edinburgh.

The City of Edinburgh Council has granted planning permission for the National Galleries of Scotland’s new building, The Art Works.

The multi-purpose building will act as a new community space, and conservation, research and art storage facility in North Edinburgh.

The plans see the new set for a brown field site in Granton. Previously known as the National Collection Facility, proposals for a building of this kind have been in the early stages of concept development since 2015.

Scotland’s national collection is currently stored across several “suboptimal” sites, said National Galleries of Scotland, which means it can be challenging for works to be made available for display and loan.

It said the new site aims to make it more accessible for the community to explore the nation’s art. Community spaces will be included for use by local residents, community groups and the wider public, offering an additional 11,000m² of space – the equivalent of two playing fields.

The Art Works will store more than 120,000 works of art while not on display in a gallery, including the historic collection of the Royal Scottish Academy, and the Demarco Archive.

Projects with partners have already begun, including a collaboration with local charities and social enterprises to make 1000 art-themed face coverings, and visits for nursery groups to the community orchard which is currently on part of the site.

Sir John Leighton, the outgoing Director-General of the National Galleries of Scotland, said: “Our project has the potential to be a huge catalyst for change in the local community and at national levels. The Art Works will allow National Galleries of Scotland to share its collection much more effectively across the nation and to bring the benefits of art and culture to the widest possible audience.”