One of Glasgow's best buildings of the 20th century, this project had a big influence on many architects in the eighties.
Burrell Museum Opening Times (check with The Burrell):
Mon-Thu & Sat 10am-5pm, Fri & Sun 11am-5pm
Address: The Burrell Collection, 2060 Pollokshaws Road Glasgow
Gallery, toilets and the café are wheelchair-accessible and there are disabled parking bays.
Contact The Burrell Collection: 0141 287 2550
The Burrell Collection (The Burrell Museum), Pollok Country Park, Glasgow
Sir Barry Gasson with Brit Andresen
Charles Burrell Museum
Burrell Museum - Architecture
Glasgow's major attraction, the Burrell Museum, is a Collection amassed by wealthy industrialist Sir William Burrell ship owner and art collector, before it was donated to the city in 1944. After much wrangling over where the collection should be located, it was, in 1963, finally agreed that it should be housed in a purpose-designed Museum building in Pollok Country Park, 5km south of the city centre.
This idiosyncratic collection includes everything from Chinese porcelain and medieval furniture to paintings by Renoir and Cézanne. Carpeted floors maintain the silence to contemplate the beautifully displayed treasures. Carved-stone Romanesque doorways are incorporated into the Burrell Museum's structure as portals; some galleries are reconstructions of rooms from Hutton Castle, the Burrell residence.
The Burrell Museum was the result of a design competition in 1971. If it had not been run during a postal strike, necessitating an extension of the closing deadline, Barry Gasson's winning entry (out of 242 entrants, announced 1972) would not have been completed. The initial design for the Burrell Museum is the result of the collaboration between Barry Gasson and Brit Andresen*. Construction of the gallery began in 1978 by Barry Gasson Architects and was completed and opened to the public in 1983.
The building forms a huge L-shape, with entry from the south (into one end of the 'L' on axis) through a 13-foot high 16th-century archway into the glazed courtyard of the gallery. The Burrell Collection is formed of huge unadorned facades of ashlared Locharbriggs red sandstone, peeled away in zones for glazing. The windows are not expressed: instead the glass folds with the eaves and forms a smooth envelope supported on rational steel and timber portal structures at close centres - there is nothing light about this project. This makes the building seem sombre amongst the trees, and even where the lawns open out, the landscape is controlled into terraces.
Thus the unarticulated building and the formal merciless grass temper the original site's irregularities and create a powerful, rationalist whole. There is no doubting the Burrell Museum's formal power, but the lack of interaction with nature, between inside and out, makes the Burrell a difficult building to swallow.
The entrance to the collection itself is the Hornby portico, a 26-feet high English Renaissance doorway which weighs 26 tons. The Burrell Museum incorporates reproductions of three rooms from Hutton Castle, near Berwick-on-Tweed, where Sir William and Lady Burrell moved in 1927. These are the drawing room, hall, and dining room, each furnished in the original manner and with some original woodwork. The building has storage for the many items from the collection not on display, a restaurant, lecture theatre, children's activities space, library, photographic studio, and living quarters for visiting scholars.
The £21m Burrell Museum and its collection of around 8,000 works of art put Glasgow on the international cultural map. Some have claimed that the collection contributed significantly to Glasgow's European City of Culture Award in 1990.
*Gasson, Meunier and Anderson were all from Cambridge University School of Architecture. Barry Gasson and Brit Andresen were teaching architecture together at Cambridge from 1970-83, and designed Stage One of the competition for the Burrell Museum Competition. [Barry Gasson and John Meunier were in partnership at that time but John Meunier was not involved in the design]. Barry Gasson, now an OBE, was the young team leader and seems to be unlocateable overseas, notably since the problems with the roof leaking occurred. Gasson, was a graduate of Birmingham School of Architecture. After a year in private practice Barry was awarded an English Speaking Union Fellowship to Columbia University in New York for two years. This was followed by two years in the Park Avenue architectural practice of Philip Johnson where projects he worked on included a ballet theatre for the Lincoln Centre, an extension to the New York Museum of Modern Art, and laboratories for Yale University. Six months before the museum was due to open Gasson received the Royal Scottish Academy Gold Medal for Architecture for his design of the Burrell Museum. Brit Andresen is Architect and Associate Professor and Reader, Architecture Department, University of Queensland and was the RAIA (Royal Australian Institute of Architects) 2002 Gold Medal winner. John Meunier went on to the US - most recently to Arizona State University in 1987 to be Dean of the College of Architecture and Environmental Design. Previously he was Director of the School of Architecture and Interior Design at the University of Cincinnati.
Following the selection of the design for the Burrell Collection Stage Two competition John Meunier joined the design team and assisted the development of the project. After winning the competition  Gasson and Meunier Architects in association with Brit Andresen worked on the project until the partnership between Gasson and Meunier was dissolved . John Meunier travelled to the USA. After working on the project from 1972 to 1977 the project was shelved at a time of economic down-turn and Brit Andresen travelled to Australia. The museum project was started up again some years later and completed by Barry Gasson Architects.
Barry Gasson's whereabouts are now unknown: if he reads this maybe he will let us know.