Paisley Museum Reimagined: The Brief

The Museum will symbolize a hub, at the heart of the town and community that is manifestly, expressly and uniquely, Paisley.

The aspiration is for the revitalized Museum to be instantly recognizable, and to be a calling card for Paisley, reflecting the town’s bold and radical reputation.

Our location is our strength. We are an integrated part of the town centre committed to ensuring that the Museum plays a key part in the town’s wider public engagement. The Museum will function as a connected and networked hub inviting visitors in but also reaching out beyond the confines of the buildings themselves and extend out into the landscape, the high street and further afield.

The Museum will operate as a:

  • Knowledge & Discovery Hub
  • Social Hub
  • Skills & Innovation Hub
  • Creative Hub

Our project will redefine what constitutes a museum and the nature of a museum visit. We want to create memorable visitor experiences that excite, surprise, and engage our audiences. We will consider how visitors interact with our buildings, our collections, the external landscape and with other visitors. We want to be known for a museum which contains the unexpected – amazing and unanticipated collections, stories and storytellers.

The museum site

The project is a diverse campus of buildings and an under-utilised landscape that needs to be unified as a coherent whole, uniting the Museum, the Coats Observatory, Observatory House, Transit House and the Philosophical Society Buildings to make it more accessible and a facility fit for a 21st century visitor.

The project scope includes:

  • Repair and re-interpretation of all buildings on the site
  • A world-class new build extension housing an accessible visitor reception and café
  • A relocated and refurbished shop
  • Landscaped area to the west and rear of the Museum
  • Resolution of physical access and circulation issues
  • Installation of new efficient mechanical and electrical plant systems
  • 100% increase in collections on display & high quality interpretation
  • Interactive weaving studio
  • Maker’s space and learning facilities

This is one of the most radical briefs I have read – it triggered in us a desire to tell the untold history of Paisley and search for a narrative thread that will drive the design. The project is bigger than the building itself and I am excited to re-imagine the relationship between the street and museum. This is not only about finding the way to best show the museum’s collection - it’s also about showing the world how an ambitious cultural project can have a profound impact on a community and its identity.

Amanda Levete

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