The Director of the Victoria and Albert Museum praised progress on the construction site of the new V&A Museum of Design Dundee during a recent visit.
Tristram Hunt received a tour of the site from V&A Dundee Director Philip Long and representatives of BAM Construct UK shortly after the museum’s walls reached their full height.
Opening in 2018, V&A Dundee will be the first UK museum dedicated to design outside London.
V&A Dundee has been designed by Kengo Kuma, the internationally renowned architect who is also designing the Tokyo 2020 Olympic stadium. V&A Dundee will be the first building in the UK by Kuma.
His vision for the museum is to be a new ‘living room for the city’, welcoming everyone to visit, enjoy and socialise, and to reconnect the city with its historic River Tay waterfront. The museum’s dramatic exterior is inspired by the cliffs along Scotland’s north-eastern coastline.
V&A Dundee has been established in close partnership with the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, accessing its collections, curatorial expertise and exhibitions. It is run independently with its own Director and, as well as bringing V&A exhibitions to Scotland, it will develop its own exhibitions.
Tristram Hunt said shortly after visiting the construction site: “I think V&A Dundee is a totally stunning design which provides exactly the right kind of space to tell the story of Scottish design.
“This new design museum speaks both to the incredible heritage and sense of place in Dundee, but is also a statement of optimism and ambition about the future.”
Philip Long, Director of V&A Dundee, said: “We’re delighted to welcome Tristram at this exciting stage in our journey towards creating the first V&A museum in the world outside of London.
“The V&A is known globally as representing the very highest standard of collections, curatorial expertise and exhibitions, and as part of this we are working in partnership to develop a museum of international importance that will open here in Dundee in 2018.
“V&A Dundee is itself a remarkable piece of design, with Kengo Kuma’s bold architectural vision – inspired by the natural forms of Scotland’s cliffs – requiring remarkable construction and engineering techniques. It will be home to Scotland’s untold design story, and to international V&A touring exhibitions.”
Dundee has a strong history of innovation – including aspirin, biomedical research that has led to hundreds of new cancer drugs, comics including The Beano and The Dandy, orange marmalade, and video games including Lemmings and Grand Theft Auto – which resulted in it becoming the first UNESCO City of Design in the UK in 2014.
Through its two leading universities, Abertay University and the University of Dundee, design has been a prominent area of teaching and research from the 19th century onwards, when Dundee led the world in the manufacturing of jute and other textiles.
Today the city is enjoying a cultural revival led by the hugely successful Dundee Contemporary Arts, Dundee Rep Theatre, McManus Art Gallery, Scottish Dance Theatre and Wasps Studios.
Dundee has placed culture at the heart of its regeneration, with V&A Dundee an international flagship project within a £1 billion, 30-year masterplan to design an open, inclusive city of the future.