The Whitworth Art Gallery’s People’s Choice recognition at the Riba Stirling Prize 2015 finals follows a series of accolades in 2015 including being named Best Emerging Culture Destination Europe at the Leading Cultural Destinations Awards 2015 and Art Fund Museum of the Year in July.
The Whitworth’s redevelopment by architects MUMA was awarded a Riba National Award on 18 June along with 36 other buildings including Middleport Pottery in Stoke on Trent and was then named in the final shortlist of six best buildings in the UK.
The art gallery closed for its £15m redevelopment in 2013, which saw a huge extension to the Victorian building opening out onto the park beyond and creating new gallery and collection spaces. Since then the Whitworth has smashed visitor records with 230,000 in the first six months, up from 192,000 annually before it closed for renovation.
Director Maria Balshaw said in an interview with M+H Advisor in August that “MUMA’s incredible work has breathed new life into the Whitworth, and our aim now is to do justice to the building, to our collections and, importantly, to all our visitors – old and new.”
The eventual winner of the Stirling Prize 2015 was Burntwood School in Wandsworth, which was rebuilt between 2011 and 2014 at a cost of £40.9m, to a design by architects Allford Hall Monaghan Morris.
The Whitworth Art Gallery’s new extension, which opens the gallery up to the park surrounding it. Photograph by Alan Williams