Project will ’restore and reimagine’ city’s Harris museum and art gallery
Buttress has submitted £10.7m plans to restore and upgrade Preston’s grade I-listed Harris museum, library and art gallery.
The Harris, in the centre of the Lancashire city, serves as a community hub as well as a learning centre. Its collections include paintings, textiles, sculpture, photography, historic books and digital art, many of which are of international significance.
The project will tackle the Victorian building’s damp issues at roof and basement level as well as improving accessibility and permeability.
It will also remove later mezzanines from the galleries to open up their full volumes and restore the original architecture. Buttress, which worked with concept architect Ralph Appelbaum Associates, said this would provide flexibility for future exhibits and community uses.
Externally the original entrance will be accentuated, while a loggia housing a new lift and staircase will be concealed using a fretwork design referencing the 1893 building’s architecture.
A spokesperson for owner Preston council said: “The new proposals bring together architectural and exhibition design to maximise the Harris’ offer, preserving and celebrating its original features and protecting it for the future.”
The project has involved early stage lottery funding and consultation with the public. Last year 380,000 people visited the museum.
Work will start in October 2021 if both the planning application and bids for funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Arts Council England are successful.