IT is a vast space right in the centre of Scotland’s biggest city.
A first look at the cavernous interior ofmajor space inside the Kelvin Hall in Glasgow’s west end shows the scale of the facility which could, by 2020, contain the Hunterian Art Gallery and Museum as well as contemporary and modern art from the National Galleries of Scotland (NGS).
Work is continuing at the building opposite the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum soin order for its first phase of development, which will can open to the public in late August.
This includes a new gym, sports halls, the moving image archive of the National Library of Scotland and the stores of the Hunterian Museum, as well as stores for Glasgow’s cultural heritage.
However, it is the second phase of development that will fill the enormous, currently empty, central space of the Kelvin Hall, which is 160ft long and contains 10,000 square metres of floor space.
The 1927 building, which is Grade 2 listed, has been stripped back to its bare architecture, showing both its sheer size and its concrete supports and complex roof structures.The Herald:
Last week councillors gave the green light to an £8 million new roof for the space, which means in the future it can be an art and artefact gallery on
a grand scale, in a series of collaborations with leading cultural institutions.
On completion the whole building, to be made fully wind and watertight in the next two years, will include sport, art, records, heritage and visual art in one space.
The plans for the central space have yet to be defined but Victoria Hollows, senior museums manager, said there would also be an “interior civic space” at the Hall’s entrance and that discussions about designs are, at present, fluid.
Plans for a gallery of contemporary art at Kelvin Hall are at an early stage but The Herald understands key figures believe having art from the NGS and the Hunterian in the same place would provide the same scale and prestige for Scotland as the Tate Modern does for London.
One option includes the Kelvin Hall site being used to display Artist Rooms, Anthony D’Offay’s key collection of contemporary art which is now co-owned by the Tate in London and the NGS.

Kelvin Hall is one the key developments for the council and Glasgow Life, which runs galleries, libraries and museums in the city, in the coming years.
It is three times the size of its near neighbour, Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, and the completion of the first phase of its revamp will bring the Hunterian’s 1.4 million objects, and 400,000 Glasgow Museums objects, into a new store to which the public can book tours.
Councillor Frank McAveety, leader of Glasgow City Council, said: “Alongside our partners, we are breathing new life into Kelvin Hall and I’m looking forward to the sport, cultural and educational elements opening in the next few months.”
“But this is just the beginning – our decision to invest significantly in the remaining infrastructure, is a clear demonstration of our future ambitions for this incredible space.”