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MK Gallery Planning Major Renovation and Expansion


Architects' impression: Exterior view of Expanded MK Gallery 

Architects' impression: Exterior view of Expanded MK Gallery 

MK Gallery has exciting plans for renovation and expansion to double its current exhibition spaces and treble the building’s footprint. This will include improved facilities, allowing more people to experience, participate, learn and be inspired by culture at the heart of Milton Keynes.

The existing building requires renovation and expansion to offer world-class art and events, including historical ‘blockbuster’ exhibitions, cinema, music and performance as well as enhanced community facilities and a café, shop and spaces for corporate hire.


The renovation will improve the building’s energy efficiency and increase the Gallery’s long-term financial resilience.  Based on a feasibility study conducted last year, the estimated project cost of £10 million will be achievable from a combination of public and private sources. The new facility will open in 2017, to coincide with the city’s 50th anniversary.

MK Gallery is now entering a detailed research and planning phase to progress this vision in order to deliver a unique public building, open and welcoming to all, and a major cultural centre that is appropriate for a fast evolving and growing city.

In autumn 2013 MK Gallery will appoint its professional team, including project architects, to take the plans to RIBA Stage D in order to submit a planning application by spring 2014.  The provisional project timescale thereafter is to complete funding and planning applications by autumn 2014, commence construction autumn 2015, with completion of works in summer 2017.


Commenting on the plans, MK Gallery’s Director Anthony Spira, said, “We are at an important point in the Gallery’s history.  We have an exciting vision and with the support of a wide range of partners our team look forward to turning that vision into reality.”  


Tate’s Director Sir Nicholas Serota welcomed the news, saying, 'In its short life MK Gallery has already demonstrated that it can make a distinctive contribution to the visual art network in the UK. The planned expansion will ensure that it can continue to bring the best of international contemporary art to the wide audience that it serves in Milton Keynes and the region'


Cate Canniffe, Interim Regional Director, South East, Arts Council England says: ‘The Arts Council has invited Milton Keynes Gallery, an Arts Council England National portfolio organisation, to apply to stage 2 of our large-scale capital funding programme. If successful, this funding would support the gallery’s renovation and expansion plans, which would no doubt enable even more people to experience world class arts. We recognise the key role that the gallery has played in developing the city’s cultural offer and we welcome this latest development.’      


Peter Geary, MK Council Cabinet Member for the Arts said: “Milton Keynes is a real success story and deserves world class facilities – the renovation and expansion of MK Gallery is recognised by MK Council as an important cultural development for the local community and visitors to Milton Keynes. We are keen to support MK Gallery to provide more programme choice through their expansion plans so that they can meet the needs of a growing and diverse audience.” 


Further announcements regarding the project development and opportunities to share plans with audiences are expected to take place later this year.



About MK Gallery

MK Gallery launched in October 1999, alongside Milton Keynes Theatre.  It is the only contemporary visual arts organisation within a 40-mile radius and is unique in the area in its ability to initiate and commission new work and projects that are presented internationally. Since its inception it has produced a critically acclaimed programme of international contemporary art and is now established as a key cultural asset for Milton Keynes.


The Gallery presents 4-5 exhibitions a year, together with a programme of monthly community exhibitions in its Project Space and regular weekly events including free Tuesday and Saturday workshops for children, Thursday Scratch Nights, Friday Film Nights and occasional Saturday Live music, exploring the range and breadth of contemporary creativity.