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Dunfermline Carnegie Library & Galleries

Dunfermline Carnegie Library & Galleries

In 2007 Richard Murphy Architects won a competition organized by Fife Council and the RIAS for a major new cultural centre in the historic centre of Dunfermline. The brief envisaged a museum space, art galleries, local history archive and reading room, childrens’ centre, café and meeting rooms lying alongside, and integrating with, the world’s first Andrew Carnegie Library, a Grade B listed building. A Grade B listed former bank building was also part of the site.

The competition design organized the new building along a new top lit street with a journey to all the facilities criss-crossing the street on bridges to the top of the building. The entrance proposed hinging a giant slice of the former bank façade to form the new entrance and although welcomed by everyone as a very exciting and innovatory way off entering the otherwise landlocked site Historic Scotland refused to consider the idea.

Eventually the Council were able to purchase an adjacent car-park and this we proposed to convert into a walled garden which in turn leads to a new entrance courtyard off this garden. Our garden design merges with the mediaeval garden at the rear of the adjacent Abbott’s House Museum and includes two sculptures from Burns’ Tam O’Shanter and also a small maze.

The revised design maintains a top-lit internal street as its organizing device. There are three main new spaces. At the lower level is a major new facility for the research and study of local history and its archive organized on a tiered section looking out at the Abbey. The new library facilities for children is also at this level and opens directly onto a lawn and external auditorium. The café is on the first floor with terraces looking out onto the Abbey and graveyard and above this on the same level are the double level museum and the three exhibition galleries. The circulation system is an ‘architectural promenade’ culminating in these facilities but also continuing back into the main building and allowing access to two main existing spaces in the library, the Murison Burns Room which becomes a meeting / function space and the adjacent reference library which will become an activity and lecture space.

Externally, the materials are a combination of stone, oak and corten steel. The latter is to designate the fact that a majority of the museum displays the industrial heritage of the town. A major feature of the museum itself, which has been designed in collaboration with Redman Design, is that there are internal framed views of significant nearby historic buildings.

The project opened to the public in May 2017 and has subsequently won an RIAS 2017 Award and the RIAS Best Building in Scotland Award 2017.

Other Details
Architects  Richard Murphy, Bill Black, Matt Bremner, Kris Grant, Brian Tobin, Martin Lambie, Alex Thurman
Engineers  AECOM
M&E Engineers  RYBKA
Quantity Surveyor  RLB (Rider Levett Bucknall)
Exhibition Designer  Redman Design Ltd
Construction Cost  £9m
Size  Extension: 2305m² Existing building: 1137m²
Contractor  Bam
Client  Fife Cultural Trust

2017 EAA Building of the Year
2017 RIBA Award
2017 EAA Large Project Award
2017 RIAS Award
2018 RICS Community Benefit Award
2018 Civic Trust Award Commendation

  • 7 September 2017New Chapter as Dunfermline's Carnegie Library & Galleries is officially openedDunfermline Press
  • September 2017Carnegie Library Steps into the New CenturyScottish Life
  • July 2017Word on the StreetUrban Realm
  • July 2017Bodies in the LibraryRIBA Journal
  • June 2017Step Inside Scotland's new Dunfermline Carnegie Library &
  • 15 June 2017Dunfermline Carnegie Library wins double architecture award - RIAS Best Building & Client of the Year AwardsThe Scotsman
  • June 2017Cast of CultureProject Scotland
  • June 2017Material Gains - Dunfermline's Carnegie Library & GalleriesArchitecture Today
  • 18 May 2017Visitors Flock to Dunfermline's new MuseumDunfermline Press
  • 17 May 2017It is a project that has transformed the home of the world’s first Andrew Carnegie Library into Scotland’s newest architectural landmark....The Scotsman
  • 1 May 2017An Audience with Richard Murphy at Dunfermline Carnegie Library & Galleries for a personal insight into the projectFife Avocado Sweet
  • 20 April 2017Dunfermline Carnegie Library named Edinburgh Architectural Association Building of the YearThe Scotsman
  • 4 April 2017Dunfermline Carnegie Library & Galleries gear up for public unveil Urban Realm
  • 23 February 2017Applause for Dunfermline’s new £12 million cultural hubDunfermline Courier
  • 9 December 2016Dunfermine gallery and library space previewed ahead of Spring opening Urban Realm
  • 22 June 2016Project Team Delivering Museum Dunfermline DeservesThe Courier
  • 14 February 2014Dunfermline Museum & Art Gallery to move on siteUrban Realm
  • 1 July 2012New Plan gets nodProject Scotland
  • 11 June 2012Richard Murphy Architects submits Dunfermline Arts Centre for PlanningBuilding Design
  • 1 March 2011New Life For An Ancient BurghScottish Life
  • 22 November 2010Home To Scotland's First Kings - Now £10m Museum To Be Town's New Crowning
  • 1 August 2007Clever Murphy Lands Dunfermline MuseumProject Scotland
  • 24 July 2007Museum Planned For DunfermlineLeisure Opportunities
  • 20 July 2007Richard Murphy Takes Dunfermline MuseumBuilder & Engineer Online
  • 20 July 2007Verona Comes To Dunfermline MuseumBuilding Design
  • 20 July 2007Development Of The Bruce's Town Hinges On Innovative Museum DesignThe Scotsman
  • 19 July 2007Firm Picked To Work Up Designs For City MuseumDunfermline Press
  • 18 July 2007Richard Murphy Bags Dunfermline MuseumArchitects' Journal
15 Old Fishmarket Close, Edinburgh, Scotland, EH1 1RW | Tel 0131 220 6125 |