The Art Works

The Art Works is our project to deliver a sustainable new facility to care for, research and share Scotland’s renowned art collection.

As a key part of the Granton Waterfront development, the building and surrounding land will be a cultural focal point for the local community, offering new spaces for all to share and enjoy.

Not only will we future proof how we care for Scotland’s national art collection, The Art Works will be open to everyone, from local visitors and communities right through to specialist researchers in Scotland and from across the world.

This exciting and transformative initiative supports Scotland’s green recovery by delivering the largest building in the country designed to the Passivhaus environmental standard.

We are creating a place with the needs of the local community at its heart. Inside there will be social spaces and amenities for visitors’ comfort and enjoyment while outside there will be opportunities for activity areas and bringing the environment to life.

Children dressed in winter wear sitting on a blanket with the art in the open bike in the background
Children from Edinburgh College Nursery enjoy a trip to the mobile orchard (owned by local business, Soilutions), that sits on The Art Works Site. Picture credit: Roberto Riccuiti

The design

Our design team is led by internationally renowned architect John McAslan and Partners. They are working to a brief that will support the delivery of a positive and inspiring future for the Granton area, as well as providing a world-class hub for looking after and sharing Scotland’s national art collection.

The Art Works will be designed on Passivhaus principles, arguably the world’s most rigorous energy and comfort standard. This development, as one of the largest Passivhaus buildings in the world, will be of international significance.  We are passionate about being carbon light – if you are too, find out more.

View the designs

The location

The site for The Art Works sits between Waterfront Avenue and West Granton Road in North West Edinburgh.

The under development B-listed Madelvic car factory is at the eastern edge of the site. Madelvic House is immediately to the east and close by The United Wire Factory buildings. The southern edge of the site is formed by a selection of retail units including Lidl. Two other Granton Development Strategic Partners, National Museums Scotland and Edinburgh College, are situated nearby.

See existing site layout

Connecting communities

The Art Works will be constructed on a brownfield site within the wider Granton Waterfront development, linking and bringing together existing and new communities to the north and south. 

It will be instrumental to the delivery of the culture and learning strategies for the area, offering new resources and multi-purpose spaces inside and outside the building for all to engage with. 

Our journey has already started. Projects with local partners are well underway, including collaborations with local charities and social enterprises.    

Machinist and designer, Francia Frank in front of Samuel John Peploe, Tulips - The Blue Jug(about 1919)
Visiting Conservation Studios

A collection for everyone

The Art Works will allow everyone to explore, discover, and engage with Scotland’s national art collection. The facility will offer an additional 10,000² of quality space – the equivalent of two playing fields – to make the collection more accessible to the public than ever before. 

Alongside a vastly improved digital offering, The Art Works will deliver a modern environment in which students, researchers and members of the public can engage with the collection. 

The facility will also provide modern studios for conservation and research, and support the expansion of Scotland’s national art collection over the next two decades and beyond. It will also house the ARTIST ROOMS collection (jointly owned with Tate), parts of the Royal Scottish Academy collections and the Demarco Archive. 

Conservator at work on an painting
Conservation staff caring for the collection

Any questions?

Any questions?

Ask the project team a question using our online ‘ask a question’ form.