Whitworth Art Gallery


Architect Selected for Whitworth's Building Designs

MUMA has been selected as the architectural practice who will shape the Whitworth Art Gallery's vision for the future. The practice won this opportunity through a RIBA architectural competition held following Whitworth's award of a first-round pass from the Heritage Lottery Fund, in February 2009. An initial field of over 130 competition entrants was narrowed to a shortlist of five firms that each submitted detailed designs. These were subject to public scrutiny as well as being considered in depth by the judging panel chaired by Chancellor of the University of Manchester, Tom Bloxham M.B.E.

MUMA will now work with the Whitworth on a detailed design of a new second entrance and extension for the gallery, connecting it more directly with Whitworth Park in which it is situated at the southern gateway of the University of Manchester campus. Plans for the development include an art garden and second entrance, a new informal 'cafe in the trees', a landscape gallery and and study area allowing visitors and researchers to get closer to the collections even when they are not on public display. Plans will be worked up during the next year and will be presented as part of the final stage of the Whitworth's Heritage Lottery Fund bid in 2010.


This new competition seeks an architect for the design of a new gallery extension and alteration of internal and external spaces within the Grade II listed Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester.

Category Project Competition / Competition Result
Type International, Project, RfQ , Restricted, Two-Stage , Onymous
Genre Museum
Country Manchester, UK
RegDeadline 15 July 2009 GoogleCal iCal
15 July 2009 (Must be Received)
Eligibility Registered Architects

The Whitworth is a public art gallery, founded in 1889 as the first English gallery in a park. It became part of the University of Manchester in 1958. It is a Grade II listed building. We hold collections numbering a little over 55,000 objects, all stored onsite. We aim to make our internationally important fine art, textiles and wallpapers accessible to a wide range of visitors who come to experience our collections and enjoy the art, the building and the green space surrounding us.
Since 2007 the Gallery has been working with staff, visitors, local communities and other stakeholders to develop a bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for a capital development that would allow us to develop our activities, make the Gallery more accessible to more people and significantly improve the offer for those who visit. In February 2009, we were awarded a Stage One pass from the HLF, one of only three national projects they have supported in this year.
This award gives in principle support for a £6 million award and a development grant to take the project forward for Stage Two (RIBA Stage D) submission in September 2010. We are now seeking an architectural practice to develop the design concept for the project, working the proposals up to RIBA Stage D and a planning permission to achieve a Stage Two approval and then to a successful completion of the £11 million overall project.

Tom Bloxham (Chancellor of University of Manchester)
Sasha Bhavan (Knox Bhavan Architects as the RIBA Adviser)
Maria Balshaw (Director of the Whitworth Art Gallery)
Rosemary Bull (Architect and representative from the Friends of the Whitworth)
Diana Hampson (Director of Estates, University of Manchester)
Peter Saville (Creative Director for Manchester and an artist (tbc))

Winner: Design commission
Each of the design practices selected for Stage 2: £5,000

Entry Fee

Expressions of Interest (a maximum of 20 single sided A4 pages)

Submission Address
RIBA Competitions Office
6 Melbourne Street
Leeds LS2 7PS

Shortlist notified / Stage 2 brief issued: 30 July 2009
Submission of Stage 2 material: 18 Sept 2009
Final Presentations wk commencing: 19 Oct 2009
Decision wk commencing: 2 Nov 2009
Notification of decision: November 2009

RIBA, the Friends of the Whitworth

Official Website