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Museum of Scotland
Benson & Forsyth

November 03, 2003 /

Edinburgh, Scotland

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The design of the new Museum of Scotland, inspired by national building traditions and the scale and character of its surroundings, reinterprets familiar architectural elements into a contemporary whole.

The main feature is the circular entrance tower, which echoes the Edinburgh castle battery. The architect's used a golden Scottish sandstone, with natural figuring evoking windblown sand, for the exterior wall that sits on the line of the old city wall.

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This is a building wholly integrated with its function: architecture as narrative... Spaces within spaces, buildings within buildings lead you through Scotland's complex interlocking story.

/Duncan Macmillan, Professor of History of Scottish Art University of Edinburgh

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The building is split into different elements, the centre being a dramatic seven story high triangular atrium flooded with daylight. Stairs and walkways connect the galleries on the different levels.

At most points you can see from one gallery into another, or into the great triangular entrance hall.

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Serving as an introduction to Scotland and its rich inheritance the architects have created a museum experience where the building and its contents communicate together, where the stories the objects have to tell are enhanced by the atmosphere and character of the setting.

The gallery design follows a chronological journey through Scotland from the "Beginning" in the basement, to memories and impressions of Scotland in the "20th century", on the upper levels.

A circular staircase leads to a restaurant, with a terrace overlooking old Edinburgh, located on level 6.

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The museum's roof terrace on level 7 has spectacular views of the of the Castle and all of Edinburgh and surrounding areas.

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Adjoining the Museum of Scotland, and connected via an interior walkway, is the Royal Museum, a stunning testament to Victorian architecture.

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Designed by Captain Francis Fowke RE and completed in 1888, it was influenced by Sir Joseph Paxton's Crystal Palace. Slender columns of iron, decorated capitals, rounded arches and curving staircases create a unique sense of symmetry, grace and elegance. The roof, made of wood and glass, soars 78 feet above the floor and extends 265 feet, the full length of the interior.

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The new Museum of Scotland won the Building of the Year Award 1999

We were particularly impressed by the way the building combines the Scottish vernacular with contemporary design. The architecture is skilful, dramatic and exciting.

/Professor John Steer, Judge Building of the Year Award 1999

Facts about Museum of Scotland

Main Contractor:

Watson Stonecraft, West Lothian

Client:

National Museums of Scotland

Last updated: December 19, 2013

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