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Drone footage of Scotland's first design museum released

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V&A Dundee has today (Thursday 8 June) released stunning drone footage and photographs of huge cast stone panels being hung on the curving walls of Scotland's first design museum. 

The panels, which each weigh between 1.5 and 2.5 tonnes, are being individually fixed into place on the complex walls.

In total 2,466 of them will wrap around the outside of the museum which is under construction on the edge of the River Tay, each held in place by two specially designed brackets.

Once attached they will complete the exterior of the first British building by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, the internationally renowned architect who is also designing the Tokyo 2020 Olympic stadium. The design of V&A Dundee is inspired by the cliffs along Scotland’s north-eastern coastline. 

The drone footage shows an engineer inspecting panels fixed to the highest point of the £80.11m building – an 18.4m (60ft) high wall built out into the river.

Mike Galloway, Executive Director of City Development at Dundee City Council, said: “V&A Dundee is an impressive feat of engineering and installing thousands of stone panels is the next stage of this ambitious build.

“Nothing like this has ever been constructed in Scotland before. In fact, I can’t think of another building anywhere in the world similar to this.

“Because the museum is so unique the team of constructors, designers and engineers have had to use the latest technology to realise the architect’s vision.”

Philip Long, Director of V&A Dundee, said: “It is fantastic to see V&A Dundee take shape and a joy to watch as these panels transform the curved walls of the museum into the exciting form Kengo Kuma envisaged.

“The hard work, skill and dedication of those involved in the build is remarkable and is producing something very special on the banks of the River Tay.

“As the building enters the final stages of construction excitement is growing as we look ahead to opening Scotland’s first design museum next year.”

The panels have been fitted to the riverside wall first, so work can begin on removing the cofferdam later this year. The cofferdam consists of 12,500 tonnes of stone and has allowed the museum to be built out over the river.

None of the external V&A Dundee building walls are straight so the process of making and installing the stone panels has had to be meticulously planned.

The shape of each one was designed in advance with the help of a 3D model. The panels, made from materials including stone aggregate, cement and reinforcement mesh, were then cast in moulds.

The channels in which the brackets sit were cast into the reinforced concrete walls of the museum, meaning the exact position of each panel had to be carefully mapped out well in advance of construction starting.

The panels are lifted onto the brackets using a fork lift and secured by engineers stationed on hydraulic platforms.

Construction of V&A Dundee is on schedule for opening to the public in 2018.