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The following presentation provides information on three possible sites for a new building proposed for a Highland Gallery and Museum. Castle Street, Midmills and Northern Meeting Park are locations short listedafter a wider review of possible sites. No particular site is favoured at present – each has different characteristics, benefits and challenges.The Highland Gallery & Museum Steering Group and The Highland Council wish to gather the opinions of the public before Councillors are asked to consider the options in 2008.YOUR PARTICIPATION IS IMPORTANT

format of this presentation
Format of this presentation


  • The history behind the project
  • The partners involved
  • What we aim to create and progress so far

Site analysis

  • An architects overview of each location
  • The opportunities and constraints for each site
  • Images of how the required size of building will fit on each site (not artist impressions of the design)

What happens next

a long held ambition
A long held ambition

There has been an ambition to create a major new gallery in the Highlands for over a decade

  • Initial study prepared in 1994
  • From 1994/98 Gallery 2000 - Millennium Commission bid for the £30m re-development of Bridge House.
  • Failed in favour of the UHI Millennium Institute bid
  • 1999/2000 Torvean Quarry – wider aim of gallery, artist studios, archive centre, sculpture park
  • Failed due to high infrastructure costs and complexities of the site
a new cultural climate
A new cultural climate
  • City status has renewed confidence in the city-region
  • We have a growing population and economy
  • Inward investment success
  • An open-arms approach to attracting people
  • However, newcomers and visitors expect better cultural facilities than currently on offer
  • Highland 2007 the year Scotland Celebrates Highland Culture – the opportunity to create a lasting legacy

We need to compete with other cities and should have the cultural facilities worthy of one of the fastest growing European cities

fit with inverness city vision
Fit with Inverness City Vision
  • A cultural place
  • A cosmopolitan place
  • A creative place
  • Cultural capital
  • Learning city
  • Highland 2007 legacy
activity to date
Activity to date
  • Partner Scoping Report prepared March 2005
  • Benchmarking of other galleries to assess scale
  • Adopted as a City Vision project June 2005 (and decision taken to aim for integrated gallery and museum)
  • Gallery & Museum Visioning Workshop September 2005
  • Brief feasibility of Bridge Street site option February 2006
  • £5m included in The Highland Council 5 year Capital Plan
  • Developer ambitions for Upper Bridge St. change in 2007
  • The search for an alternative site gets underway

Theproject cannot move forward until a site is identified

those involved
The Highland Gallery and Museum Steering Group is chaired by Professor Duncan Macmillan, former Dean of Art at Edinburgh University and curator of the Talbot Rice Gallery

The project partners are:

The Highland Council

Inverness City Partnership

HIE Inverness & East Highland

National Galleries of Scotland

Scottish Arts Council


UHI Millennium Institute

Eden Court Theatre & Cinema

Inverness Architects Association

Those involved
project aims
To provide access within the Highlands to the highest quality of art, artefacts and specimens from national and regional Scottish collections;

To provide a focus for the very best work by Highland artists, or by artists about the Highlands;

To be of international significance, and be able to host temporary exhibitions of a contemporary or historical nature;

To provide a hub for exhibition making, education, conservation and other services for the existing gallery and museum network in the Highlands & Islands

Project aims
the search for a site
The Search for a Site

In July 2007, The Highland Council commissioned a preliminary evaluation of 14 possible sites within the city

the search for a site1
The Search for a Site

The majority were ruled out as they could not meet the project brief or because the site is unlikely to be available in the foreseeable future

(The full list and reason for exclusion is in the leaflet and webpages)

the search for a site2
The Search for a Site

The criteria for selection included a site that can provide:

  • good access;
  • good visibility; and
  • quality spaces.

The scale required is 4,095m2– nearly 3 times the size of Inverness Museum and Art Gallery (IMAG)

  • Castle Street
  • Midmills Buildings
  • Northern Meeting Park
  • Selected for further analysis
site analysis
This analysis was commissioned in October 2007 to ensure that a gallery and museum development is feasible on each site before suggesting these to the public and Councillors.

The architects’ research concludes that all three sites could support the required building. There is no favoured site – all have pros and cons and the following analysis attempts to present this in a neutral and unbiased fashion.

The public are being invited to give their views in a completely open survey, and the ultimate decisions will rest with The Highland Council, Elected Members.

Site analysis
castle street
Castle Street

This illustration indicates the scale of the building – it is not intended to represent the final architectural design

castle street opportunities
Prominent site in the city centre

Close to the present site of Inverness Museum and Art Gallery (IMAG)

Opportunity to restore damage to historic townscape

Potential for reinvigorating the historic spaces within the Town House in the longer term

Potential to link at the higher level with the Castle esplanade

Castle Street –Opportunities
castle street constraints
Ground conditions/retaining bank to esplanade may pose technical difficulties

High likelihood of encountering archaeology

Possible difficulties of access for commercial vehicles

Sloping site – a challenge to designers (also an opportunity)

Expansion restricted

Loss of car parking

Castle Street – Constraints

This illustration indicates the scale of the building – it is not intended to represent the final architectural design

midmills buildings
Midmills Buildings

This illustration indicates the scale of the building – it is not intended to represent the final architectural design

midmills opportunities
The core of the complex is a historic building of distinction with fine interior spaces that appear well suited to the brief

Attractive site set within a predominantly residential area, generous in size

Close to the city centre

Potential for new gallery pavilion to rear of building

Good range of external spaces for sculptural and café courts

Good onsite space for service access

Potential to develop innovative cultural spaces

Midmills –Opportunities
midmills constraints
Set on a plateau above the city centre, which may impact upon accessibility

Would require better pedestrian access

Will not become available until Inverness College relocates

Possible problems of access for commercial vehicles

Unknown risk with existing building condition

Possible structural restrictions to physical adaptations

Costs associated with adapting and redeveloping interior finishes in historic buildings

The site acquisition cost may be considerable

Midmills – Constraints

This illustration indicates the scale of the building – it is not intended to represent the final architectural design

northern meeting park options1
Northern Meeting Park – Options

These illustrations indicate the scale of the building – they are not intended to represent the final architectural design

nmp opportunities
The site area is generous suggesting alternative options for development

Co-location with Eden Court resurrecting the idea of a Cultural Quarter

Relative proximity to the city centre

Enhancement of the setting of surrounding A-listed buildings

Good visual connection to riverside and high quality public spaces

Would stimulate urban vision for west side of river

Green space has limited public access

NMP –Opportunities
nmp constraints
Potential for public opposition to the loss of open space from building on the Northern Meeting Park

Retaining setting of the pavilion and wall (to be B-listed)

Displacement of car parking for current uses

Possible localised flooding risk

Possible legal issues with Cathedral Car Park

Green space has limited public access

NMP – Constraints

This illustration indicates the scale of the building – it is not intended to represent the final architectural design


This illustration indicates the scale of the building – it is not intended to represent the final architectural design

public engagement
The public are being asked for their views on the suitability of each site

The public engagement period will run from Wednesday 14 November 2007 until Friday 11 January 2008

Displays can be viewed at Inverness Museum and Art Gallery and the Eastgate Centre during this period

Leaflets and survey forms are available, at the display stands, for completion and return at the stand or at Town House Reception

Alternatively an online survey can be completed by visiting

Public engagement
what happens next
Public responses will be collated and analysed by an independent consultant

These will be included in a report to the Inverness City Committee, then the Education, Culture and Sport Committee in the New Year

The Highland Council’s 5 year capital plan makes provision for a contribution of £5million “towards the provision of an iconic new Highland Gallery and Museum, the cost of which is currently estimated to be around £15million”

Before full development studies can start, and funding applications can be prepared, we need to define a site

What happens next?
prof duncan macmillan
Prof. Duncan Macmillan

“The creation of a major gallery for the Highlands has been a long held ambition for me as for many of those involved in the project. The visual arts matter in the modern world and the people of the Highlands deserve to have access to the very best art just as much as anybody else in Scotland.

The new gallery will bring the best art here, but it needs to be important nationally as well as locally. The Highlands deserve that too and they deserve a modern building which, like the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao for instance, is so exciting people want to come and see it. The three sites which are the options here have been chosen because they can all accommodate a building that can fulfil these ambitions.”

Chairman of the Highland Gallery and Museum Steering Group

those involved1
Those involved

Provost Bob Wynd

“The city of Inverness is now, more than ever, competing at an international level and as such should have all the modern cultural facilities expected. We ought to be able to showcase the best quality art and heritage collections in a landmark building that sets the standard for future development in our city region.”

those involved2
Those involved

Amanda Catto

“The Scottish Arts Council is committed to developing audiences for the visual arts across Scotland. The proposed Highland Gallery presents a good opportunity to engage existing and new audiences with the best historical and contemporary work, and has the potential to be a nationally and internationally significant development.”

Head of Visual Arts

Scottish Arts Council

those involved3
Those involved

James Gibbs

“A strong and vibrant cultural offering is a vital component in any successful city and for attracting and retaining the necessary human talent that will drive our economy forward. The people of the Highlands and Islands and visitors here should be able to enjoy the full range of cultural facilities that the 21st century can offer. HIE IEH welcomes the opportunity for the public to participate in the selection of a prominent site, wherever it may eventually be in the city, for what we hope will be an outstanding project to complement the impressive re-development of Eden Court Theatre and Cinema.”

Area Director, Highlands & Islands Enterprise Inverness & East Highland

those involved4
Those involved

James Holloway

“The National Galleries of Scotland are wholeheartedly behind the project to create an art gallery in Inverness worthy of the Highlands. The National Galleries are already committed to sharing some of the greatest art treasures of the country with the people of the Highlands. In 2005 Titian’s Venus Rising was the centrepiece of a highly successful, small exhibition shown in Inverness. Currently Botticelli’s supreme Madonna and Child forms the centrepiece of Maternity which is part of the National Galleries’ contribution to Highland 2007. If the Highlands are successful in creating a new gallery, then the National Galleries and Highland Council can look forward to many more ambitious and exciting projects.”

Partnership Director, National Galleries of Scotland

those involved5
Those involved

Cllr Bill Fernie

"A new gallery and museum for the Highlands is of great importance to the development of the full range of cultural facilities the local community and our visitors deserve for the 21st Century. As such it merits a significant building in a prominent location. I warmly encourage the public to participate in this process by giving Highland Council feedback on which site is most appropriate."

Chairman of The Highland Council’s Education, Culture & Sport Committee

those involved6
Those involved

Your feedback

Your participation is important so please complete the online survey or return the survey form available from Inverness Museum & Art Gallery, Eastgate Centre or Town House Reception before Friday 11 January 2008