Exterior of The Burrell Collection Museum in Glasgow

The Burrell Collection reopens its doors today after six years of closure and a £68.25 million refurbishment.  The project began in August 2018 and the BECK team subsequently spent three and a half years refurbishing 36 galleries & increasing the size of the museum by 35%.  The project included display plinths, bespoke AV housings, barriers, graphic support structures and specialist substrates, integrated display component lighting and control, plus electrical and data cabling throughout.

Phase One

Phase one of the project involved prototyping.  The team took the design intent reflected in the tender drawings and developed the unique display component system with fully compatible, bespoke fabricated, modular parts.

As part of our fit-out works, an innovative, modular, flexible system of setworks was design developed to achieve the museum’s objectives.  The setworks and displays can later be deinstalled & rebuilt, into whichever configuration is preferred.  This futureproofs the displays and allows the collection to be reorganised a limitless number of times.

Durable engineered stone, similar to quartz, was used for the front fascias of the display plinths.  The stone was chosen as the closest match to the original limestone used in the fabric of the building, which will withstand the demands of a busy museum environment.  In the North Gallery, planning conditions meant original limestone front fascias had to be used.  This provided a unique challenge regarding access to the plinths for future maintenance.  A bespoke sliding system was then developed and integrated into the subframe, to allow this.

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Phase Two

In September 2019, Phase two of the project began and the final design development, fabrication and installation of the components took place.  The team worked closely with Glasgow Life Conservation on the frames and lightboxes housing stained-glass objects, ensuring ventilation and installation requirements were met, for the priceless artefacts in the collection.

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The Collection

The collection, of almost 9000 objects, was gifted to the city of Glasgow in 1944 by Sir William Burrell & his wife Lady Constance.  It takes visitors on a tour of 50 countries across 6000 years of history, from 4000 BC to the turn of the 20th century.  A key condition of bequeathing the collection was a stipulation Sir William made, that it must remain housed in one building.

In 2013, The Burrell Collection was listed as a building of special architectural and historical interest by Historic Scotland.   Being listed as Category A showed its importance internationally, as well as nationally.  However, in recent years, deteriorating environment conditions affected the housing of the collection and saw a drop in visitor numbers.  The extensive redesign of the building was influenced by a public consultation with 15,000 Glaswegians.  Greater space, energy efficiency, digital and interactive displays enhance the visitor experience.  Many objects from the collection, which have never been on permanent display, or remained in storage for decades, are now displayed for viewing.

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Completing The Works

On 25th February 2022, the team were delighted to receive Practical Completion.  Simon Hand, Technical Manager said: “Receiving the PC certificate from Glasgow Life was a momentous occasion for BECK and I’m proud to have been part of this iconic project for the past three and a half years, from award all the way through to completion.”


Below: The team are delighted to receive the certificate for Practical Completion. From left to right; Jay Wright, Site Manager, Simon Hand, Technical Manager & Pam Doherty, Glasgow Life Fit-out Manager.


Dal Chana, Board Director at BECK says: ”Congratulations to everyone involved in this incredible project. It was challenging at times with its highs and lows. However, it is hard work, enthusiasm, determination and passion for the work we do that enabled us, collectively with Glasgow Life, Event Communication, Gardiner & Theobald and the specialist supply chain, to accomplish this major project milestone. Well done all!”