An A-listed neoclassical Meeting House, designed by Alexander Black in 1835 for the breakaway Christian sect the ‘Glasites’, nestled inconspicuously on Barony Street within Edinburgh’s New Town. The Glasite’s utilitarian and modest ethos is reflected in the sparse decoration and ornamentation present in the architecture. The humble, simple elegance of these spaces provided the Ingleby Gallery with the ideal context and inspiration for a new contemporary art gallery.
The conversion presented the design team with a number of challenges, including the relocation and preservation of a pulpit designed by David Bryce and construction of a suspended, heated, parquet floor in the main space. The erection of two ten metre high partitions create crucial storage and service areas within the main space, the Meeting Room. The painstaking restoration of the exquisite octagonal cupola reveals a striking ‘sundial effect’; a projection of the painted glass – fragmented scintilla of yellow, amber and gold - is thrown onto the crisp white gallery walls. The Feasting Hall is re-established as a secondary gallery space and private viewing room and furnished with the original feasting tables. Externally, windows were repaired and refurbished and cast-iron pavement grilles were reinstated to match those unique to Barony Street. Extensive repairs were also made to the external stonework.
The Glasite Meeting House is returned to the city as a dynamic, versatile platform for contemporary art in Scotland whilst embodying a celebration of its peculiar fragility, humanity, and austere beauty.