WATCH: Amanda Levete on Paisley Museum

Thursday 29th November, 2018

“My name is Amanda Levete. I am the principal for A_LA and we’re extraordinarily privileged to have won the competition to re-imagine Paisley Museum.

To really sum up for me what this project is about…it’s about being brave, being radical and being innovative. To really re-imagine Paisley Museum and to tell the untold story of Paisley.

When I read the brief for the project, I was astounded. It was one of the most radical briefs I’ve ever read.

And what fascinates me is that Paisley is a town, it’s not even a city, but the ambition of this project is greater than many national museums. And I live ambition!

What’s radical about the brief is, almost in a sense what’s radical about Paisley.

Paisley has a very radical past. It has a proud industrial history. It has a history of innovation.

It’s a community with great resilience. It’s as though radicalism is built into the community of Paisley. And I think it’s our task as architects to try and express that. Through the narrative that runs through the museum, but also through the design and through the way that we negotiate the relationship between the High Street and the museum.”

Amanda Levete is a a former winner of UK architecture’s top honour, the RIBA Stirling Prize.

Paisley Museum is the first Scottish commission for the London-based practice A_LA, who have designed landmark projects including the Victoria & Albert Museum Exhibition Road Quarter – which this year won the prestigious RIBA London Building of the Year 2018. They are also shortlisted for the competition to redesign the visitor experience at Paris’s iconic Eiffel Tower.

Current AL_A projects include the revitalisation of the historic Galeries Lafayette department store in Paris; a new centre for the cancer care charity Maggie’s in Southampton; and two new buildings for Wadham College at the University of Oxford. Completed projects include Central Embassy, a 1.5m sq ft luxury shopping mall and hotel in Bangkok, and Sky TV’s new London media campus.



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