Designed by Benson + Forsyth (architects of the Museum of Scotland) as an extension to the National Gallery of Ireland, the Millennium Wing brings the gallery closer to the city. Originally the building was to have a longer facade to the street but a conservationist campaign meant that a 19th century building earmarked for demolition had to be retained. The rear of the retained building can be seen in the winter-garden. The interior as would be expected from Benson + Forsyth is dramatic.
Containing extra gallery space as well as space for restaurants, shops and administration, the gallery has proven to be a great success increasing awareness of the collection and increasing access.
The interior of the building has many large spaces including a massive entrance hallway, a winter-garden containing the main dining area and two floors of galleries. A 18th century ballroom to the rear of this building was also retained and the winter-garden was built around it. This makes the ballroom look like a doll’s house.
The immediate impact on entering though the small entrance is the sheer size of the massive entrance hall with its soaring walls dwarfing the large staircase at its end. This has been lessened by the addition of handrailings on the staircase.