THE roof of York Art Gallery has been removed as part of a huge £8 million redevelopment of the site.

The South Gallery roof has been taken off to allow a new first floor gallery to be built which will house a Centre of Ceramic Art (CoCA).

Opening up the roof space and creating a new upper South Gallery will make use of the height of the Victorian building, adding some 450m² of high quality gallery space.

Helen Walsh, assistant curator of decorative art, said: “Removing the original roof and creating a first floor to this part of the gallery will allow us to create much more space to display some of our 5,500 strong collection of British Studio Ceramics. This collection in hugely significant to the history of British art and by creating CoCA we aim to establish York as a national hub for ceramics for people to research, learn about and enjoy.”

York Art Gallery - which closed in 2013 - will reopen in 2015.

As well as establishing CoCA, the development will create a suite of three ground floor galleries to show more ambitious and high profile exhibitions, the creation of extra learning space and a new sculpture garden, which will link to the existing York Museum Gardens.

This will allow people to walk directly from the York Museum Gardens, to the gallery and through to Exhibition Square.

The revamped art gallery will have a second entrance at the back of the gallery into the new area of Museum Gardens, facilities including a new cafe, shop, toilets and two lifts and a new learning room on the first floor.

The £8 million of funding has so far come from a variety of organisations and charities, including £3.5 million from the National Lottery through Arts Council England and £2 million from a private legacy.