Architect practice MUMA has led the redevelopment of the 125 year-old gallery, located on parkland at the University of Manchester.
Spearheading the funding was an £8.5m Heritage Lottery Fund grant as well as donations from the University and other funding partners.
At the heart of the project is a glass, stainless steel and brick extension consisting of two wings at the back of the original 19th-century building.
A space between the two wings has created a new “Art Garden” connected by a glass promenade gallery overlooking the surrounding landscape. Landscape works and sculptures will be exhibited here.
The Art Garden and Orchard garden have been designed by Chelsea gold medalist Sarah Price and will be completed by Spring. The garden will feature 90 works on permanent display.
Across the promenade is a new café also designed by the practice, which extends into the trees in Whitworth Park.
A large window in the centre of the old building gives way to a view of the new exhibition space, connecting the gallery to the surrounding park.
The existing building has also been overhauled and visitors can now gain access to the reinstated Grand Hall on the first floor through the Edwardian staircases, which have been returned to use for the first time in 50 years.
There have been further refurbishments to the entrance of the gallery on Oxford Road and Sculpture Terrace.
The gallery opens with a solo exhibition by Cornelia Parker and includes a unique piece War Room, an installation made from the punched out negatives from the Poppy Factory in Richmond to reference the 45 million which are made every year.