Tayside and Central Scotland

Architects' designs for Perth City Hall unveiled

Three of the architects' designs
Image caption Shortlisted designs - top Richard Murphy, bottom left LDN, bottom right Hoskins

Proposals for the re-development of one of Perth's most historic buildings have been unveiled.

The B-listed Perth City Hall, which was built in 1911, has lain empty for more than 10 years and had been threatened with demolition.

However, it was saved after those plans were blocked by Historic Scotland.

It is now hoped the building will help boost Perth's visitor attractions, with plans to transform it into a venue for the visual arts.

The council said the hall would become a major new venue, displaying museum and art collections alongside iconic loans from elsewhere and touring exhibitions from the UK and abroad.

It will also provide community and learning spaces.

Long-running saga

Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser has suggested that the Stone of Destiny, currently kept in Edinburgh Castle, should be the centrepiece of the revamped hall.

The future of the building has sparked a long-running saga.

In November 2011, Perth and Kinross councillors approved plans to demolish the hall to make way for a new civic square.

But this was rejected following objections by Historic Scotland.

Image caption Shortlisted designs left Austin Smith Lord, right Mecanoo

In May 2014 councillors gave their initial backing for a plan to transform the city hall into a luxury hotel however the plans fell through, as did October 2015 proposals to turn it into a food market.

Proposals from five shortlisted architects have now been unveiled at an exhibition at Perth Civic Hall.

The exhibition will feature the initial concept ideas submitted by the firms - Austin-Smith: Lord and MVRDV; Hoskins Architects; LDN; Mecanoo; and Richard Murphy Architects.

Once the winning architect has been selected, work will begin on the detailed design for the project.

Images from the exhibition will also be displayed online and at the back of City Hall, opposite St John's Kirk.

Members of the public will have the opportunity to comment on the designs and a summary of public comments will be presented alongside recommendations made to Perth and Kinross Council.

The final decision on the design will be made in the summer, with construction expected to begin in 2019.

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