Published  02/09/2002

Edinburgh’s national gallery on schedule

Edinburgh’s annual Arts Festival has long been handicapped by the limited space available in the l9th century galleries. Now a remarkable plan steered by architect John Miller will link the ailing Royal Scottish Academy to its neighbour by means of a great subterranean complex also providing a theatre and combined restaurant and educational facilities. This, in turn, will increase available gallery space by some 15,000 square feet. The Scottish Executive has provided 310 million of the funding, a major triumph considering the massive erosion in constructional confidence the institution has experienced as a result of the escalation in price of the Scottish Parliamentary complex down the road. A further 7million came from the National Lottery and private trusts and foundations have yielded a further 7.2 million. There are worries in the Scottish artistic community over the Royal Scottish Academy’s possible loss of identity, and the available time slots for the arts societies that have historically sheltered under the RSA’s wing. The new complex should lift the game for all, however, and the future Edinburgh Festival directors’ will have no excuse for failing to bring major arts retrospectives and shows of international importance to the building.

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