It all started in 1893 when we built the Tate Britain Gallery in London. It opened as the National Gallery of British Art in 1897, but was commonly known as the Tate Gallery after its founder.

Now we are refurbishing and extending the Tate in St Ives, a £8.5m contract to increase its capacity to 240,000 annual visitors, a few more than the 37,000 annual visitors it was designed for. We will achieve this by doubling the current gallery space by building a 1,305m2 extension which will include a gallery, offices, a collection care suite, and plant room. We will also refurbish 303m2 of existing gallery space, to improve visitor facilities and learning spaces.

Another art gallery we restored and extended was the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow in 2006. We modernised the 100-year-old building, providing improved access to exhibition areas and creating additional space for artworks and exhibits. It also included substantial upgrading of the services throughout the building. Since then, the museum has been the most popular free visitor attraction in Scotland and the most visited museum outside London. Similar work took place at the Grade I listed Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh where we increased gallery space by 60% to improve visitor circulation. This was completed in 2011.

The award-winning Riverside Museum in Glasgow, designed by famous architect Zaha Hadid, was a complete new challenge in the museum sector – how to build a wave shaped building to reflect Glasgow’s seafaring past? Working closely with the architect, structural engineer and using CAD and 3D models (the beginnings of BIM) we created a stunning corrugated roof, helping the Riverside Museum become one of Glasgow’s landmarks that won the European Museum of the Year Award in 2013. The new V&A in Dundee presents a similar challenge. Designed by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, the building hangs over the waterfront, seemingly levitating.



We also completed another harbour-side museum in Bristol in 2010, now known as M-Shed. Funded by the National Lottery, the pressure was on to transform the current Industrial Museum site into the Museum of Bristol. We had to preserve the building façade, working cranes and railway of Bristol’s dockside past. The design successfully integrated the current museum facility with state-of-the-art displays, dynamic audio-visual materials and important historic collections.

In nearby Exeter, we refurbished the Grade II listed Royal Albert Memorial Museum (RAMM), founded in 1904, which won the Art Fund’s Museum of the Year Award 2012, one of four BAM museums on the list. Working closely with English Heritage, we intricately restored the old and combined it with the new.

There are many more museums and galleries we could mention, from the restoration and expansion of the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford in 2010, where we increased floorspace by 90%, to the 65 metre-long, eight storey high Darwin Centre cocoon at the heart of the Natural History Museum in London, the largest sprayed concrete, curved structure in Europe. But they all have one thing in common – we carefully restore, refurbish and renew these cultural buildings for people. Using our technical expertise, we provide the backdrop for people to discover their local identity and heritage, make new discoveries about the past and preserve their culture in the future. One of the best legacies a building can leave.

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About the author

David Cotton

Director of Business Development - BAM Construct UK

David joined BAM in 1993 as a regional Construction Marketing Manager.

David’s experience as a Sector Development Director for the UK helped to sharpen our focus on sectors including health, education and defence.

He is focused on ensuring BAM goes above and beyond expectations when it delivers its products and services, throughout the project lifecycle.

He recently completed a leadership programme in Strategic Marketing at Cranfield School of Management.

"As far as I’m concerned, the only way we can get it right is to start by listening extremely carefully to what our client wants, then constantly checking that we’re delivering this throughout the project."

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