Some 15 years of restoration and redevelopment are drawing to a close at Londonâs Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A). Second phase works are continuing and will see the introduction of a new entrance and courtyard as well as a brand new underground gallery â designed by architecture firm, AL_A.
The project at Exhibition Road, London is worth some £49.5m and marks the V&Aâs largest scheme of architectural development for a century. The new gallery and recreational space is on track from completion in 2017 having secured 95% of the funding required thanks to a significant donation from the Blavatnik Family Foundation.
Founder of AL_A and Stirling Prize winner, Amanda Levete is behind the project which will, at its centre, see the creation of a column-free exhibition gallery above which will be a brand new courtyard. The gallery, totalling nearly 12,000 sq ft and therefore the UKâs largest, has been created by some 256 tonnes of structural steel and will showcase temporary exhibitions. Over the course of the next few months, a large skylight will be lifted into place in order to maximise the spaceâs access to natural light.
The courtyard located above is expected to be completed shortly after. Construction will culminate in the laying of some 14,500 porcelain tiles toward the end of 2016. Each tile is hand-crafted at the Netherlands-based Royal Tichelaar factory and the floor will, at completion, feature 13 different and complex designs.
Martin Roth, V&A Director suggested that the project and inception of new gallery space would transform the experience of the V&A as well as providing the opportunity to exhibit more work and more artists and thus become a hub of international art activity. He added that AL_A specifically had been imperative to the projectâs ongoing success with the firm embodying the core values of the museum.
The courtyard and gallery development project at the V&A forms the largest part of a wider scheme of regeneration which has already seen the creation of the Medieval & Renaissance Galleries. Despite current construction works due to finish at the end of the year, the museum will be welcoming a number of further development projects over the next five years. Over 50 architecture, design and engineering practices have already been involved the quest to find further partners for the V&Aâs regeneration very continues.