A scheme to extend the Scottish National Gallery has been delayed further and will now be completed in late 2022, the National Galleries of Scotland (NGS) announced today.
The new Level Galleries are being developed to display the nation's collection of Scottish art. In February NGS revealed that the project was not going to finished until late 2021 because it had discovered unexpected defects within the 1970s building that sits beneath the original 19th-century National Gallery.
NGS said a combination of having to stop work due to the lockdown and the complex and changing nature of the construction requirements meant the project timescales had be revised again.
At one stage the project was on schedule to be complete in early 2021. Work began in October 2018.
“Working underground on a World Heritage Site that comprises an iconic 19th-century building with modern additions from the 1970s located above one of Edinburgh’s busiest train tunnels is, of course, challenging,” said NGS director-general John Leighton. “The Covid-19 pandemic has added a further layer of complexity, with the closure of the site during lockdown and now the introduction of measures to accommodate social distancing. Any associated additional costs are being worked through diligently.”
The original budget was £22m and an NGS spokeswoman said: “On potential extra costs, it would be premature to release estimates until the full impact of the pandemic is known and all the work is finalised.”
The first phase of the Scottish National Gallery Project was completed in 2019. This included a new entrance area in East Princes Street Gardens, a new cafe, refurbished restaurant and shop, an extensive sandstone terrace, and new landscaping and paths to improve access to the gardens and the galleries.
The Scottish National Gallery remains open to visitors.