Cork City Council has given the go-ahead for a multi-million euro redevelopment of the Crawford Art Gallery.
The City Council has granted a seven-year conditional planning permission for the redevelopment, refurbishment and extension of the gallery on Emmet Place, a major flagship project funded by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media under the National Development Plan.
The proposed redevelopment is a milestone project for the gallery, which hasn’t seen a significant State investment in over 20 years.
Plans to expand and upgrade the existing 300-year old building were filed with Cork City Council in late November last year.
The new gallery space will include a seven storey over ground floor extension to provide new public exhibition areas including a new gallery with panoramic views of the city, a cafe and coffee shop, collection storage, and a new Learn and Explore facility.
Reconfiguration of storage space to the new build will see older parts of the building never before open to the public brought back into public use, and a reorientation of the main entrance will see visitors enter the Crawford through the original Emmet Place entrance into the middle of the building.
As well as new spaces for visitors to explore, upgrades such as a new lift system will ensure that every area is universally accessible, and there will also be a focus on making the Crawford a comfortable space for those who are neurodivergent.
New storage spaces and improvements to environmental controls in the building will also mean that the Crawford can expand its own collections, and exhibit more high value works in the future.
The project has been designed by an interdisciplinary design team, led by award-winning Grafton Architects, with funding provided by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media.
Planning permission granted by the City Council at the start of the month is dependent on 51 different conditions.
A spokesperson for the Crawford Gallery said that they are “delighted” to have received conditional planning permission for the project, but as the development is still in the planning system they had no further comment on specific conditions outlined in the decision.
“The Gallery has just had a very busy St Brigid's weekend and we look forward to many more as we remain open to our visitors well into 2024,” they said.
Pending progression through the planning process and procuring a contractor, it is hoped that construction on the project will begin by late 2024, with the two-year build completed by 2026.