Sir William Burrell and his wife Constance, Lady Burrell, gifted the Burrell Collection of some 9,000 works of art to the City of Glasgow in 1944. Sir William Burrell (1861-1958) was a successful shipping agent in Glasgow who amassed a large collection of artworks of the highest quality. His main areas of interest were the arts of Medieval Europe, Oriental and Islamic art, artefacts from the Ancient World and European paintings. The Collection is housed in a purpose-built and award-winning building situated in the attractive landscape of Pollok Country Park on the south side of Glasgow.
The building was opened in October 1983 to great acclaim. The design by Barry Gasson, John Meunier and Brit Andersson - all then academics at the University of Cambridge - was the outright and unanimous winner out of two hundred and thirty entries to an architectural competition. Although they had not worked with a building of this scale before, their design was judged to have responded to the competition brief with exceptional imagination and sensitivity. Unlike all the other entries their building hugs the tree line at the edge of the site, rising with the land.
With its extensive use of pine, glass and natural stone it has a distinctively Scandinavian feel. The ever-changing quality of the local daylight is used throughout with great subtlety. At the heart of the building, for example, are the tapestries, one of the most important parts of the collection, protected from, but enhanced by, the controlled daylight. This building creates an inspired showcase, a fitting home for a stunning collection.
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