Reply To: National Gallery Extension

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Paul Clerkin

Okay, I finally made it in.

Build Quality
The build quality of the galleries, especially the top galleries seems excellent, I saw one spot which looked like the wall have developed acne but in general it was good. The public spaces seem to suffer from poor finish however, especially corridors like the one that links to the Milltown wing. Its like the curators kicked up a fuss and the decision was made to get the galleries right and the rest would do.

I loved the top floor gallery, lovely light and space and I didn’t feel that the building got in the way of the paintings at all – a point that has been made about the Museum of Scotland (I disagree with this as well). I like the hidden seats and little places to stop and look out, features I enjoyed in the Museum of Scotland.

The elevated walkway.
Arggggghhhhhh the dirty Irish, the roof of the ballroom is covered in litter, even a paper plane when I was there last week. The room across the walkway is the room with the bad dose of wall acne just inside the doorway.

The circulation spaces
Dramatic certainly, especially when looking back from the top of the overly steep staircase (it will need a central handrail for safety). I do think that the ‘winter garden’ is wasted on a fitzers restuarant. Such a fine space and such a boring use. Would have made a great sculpture gallery and would allow more to enjoy it as we cannot all afford to be buying lunch.

The shop
Massive, a decent selection of architecture books

The coffee
Dire and overpriced.

My overall impression?
Slight disappointment, I just cannot put my finger on why. While its a lovely building, maybe its because I’ve seen it before (in Edinburgh) or maybe it was all the hype before hand. Walking in, I did go “Wow” but it hasnt left that impact on my mind that say the underground segments of the Louvre did or even the Edinburgh version. I do think though that the circulation spaces in our version are better and more dramatic than those in the Edinburgh version.

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