Collective Architecture

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Female, Asian/Pacific Islander, LGBTQIA+ owned

Glasgow, GB


Paisley: The Secret Collection

Collective Architecture and client Renfrewshire Council are delighted to reveal Scotland's first high street museum store in Paisley. The facility is set within a prime town centre property (a former Littlewoods department store) helping to revitalise the High Street and provide convenient access with its central location. Renfrewshire Council has started achieving their goal of bringing culture and creativity back to Paisley, breathing new life into its historic town centre.

This refurbishment has created a state-of-the-art Museum Store that safely houses Renfrewshire Council museum collections in specially climate-controlled conditions. It also facilitates behind-the-scenes visits for school groups, interested parties and researchers, thus opening up the full collection to the wider public. This enables a more complex and meaningful service for the public and curators alike, not previously possible under the old arrangements.

The project was developed through extensive consultation with various stakeholders including Renfrewshire Council who are delivering the project, Renfrewshire Leisure who will operate the facility and develop the services and the Paisley Town Asset Strategy team regarding the improvement of the High Street.

The design concept plays on the excitement a visitor will feel when entering the store via a narrow yellow entrance and descending down into the deep, dark foyer via the yellow staircase. The scale of the stores is dramatically revealed when entering the exaggerated long spine corridor revealing the surprising depth of the facility. The corridor is animated by glazed screens providing enticing views into the stores. A layer of graphics (developed in collaboration with ISO Design and artist Toby Paterson) further emphasises the scale and industrial nature of the space.

Due to the limited 2100 sq. m footprint of the existing building, Collective Architecture were initially tasked with a full survey and volumetric assessment of the existing collection.  Options were developed to demonstrate that the proposed space could accommodate the entire collection with at least 10% future expansion of the collection. A detailed storage design was subsequently developed to allow the storage-racking package to be put out to tender as a design and build package.

All the stores have individual work stations to allow curators to work closely with each collection.

Collective Architecture is proud to have worked on this project with a client who has looked to exceed expectations for this awkward basement space by supporting innovative design solutions, which have lifted the museum collection from a standard store to a hidden gem on Paisley High Street.

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Status: Built
Location: 9 High Street, Paisley
Firm Role: Project Architect
Additional Credits: Client: Renfrewshire Council
Structural Engineers: David Narro Associates
Graphic Designers: ISO Design
Artist (colour strategy): Toby Paterson
M&E consultant: Arup
Quantity Surveyor: Armour Construction Consultants
Principle Designer: Armour Construction Consultants
Main Contractor: Project Management and Construction Ltd