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Kengo Kuma sees vision of V&A Dundee revealed

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The architect of V&A Museum of Design Dundee saw his vision inspired by Scotland’s cliffs revealed for the first time today (Wednesday 18 October).

Kengo Kuma visited Dundee shortly after the temporary cofferdam – which allowed the museum to be built into the river – was removed. This involved digging out 12,500 tonnes of stone and cutting out a structure of vertical metal sheets which was constructed on the bedrock of the river.

This work revealed the dramatic river-facing front of V&A Dundee, which juts outs into the River Tay.

The exterior walls are also complete, with all 2,500 cast stone panels now hung on V&A Dundee’s complex walls, which curve both vertically and horizontally.

These panels were made in moulds, weigh up to two tonnes each and span up to four metres. The size, shape and placement of the panels varies around the building, creating changing patterns of shadows as the sun moves around the museum.

V&A Dundee will open in 2018, with the date to be announced. The £80.11 million construction project is on schedule and on budget.

Kengo Kuma, architect of V&A Dundee, said: “My inspiration always starts from the place where the project will be. In the past I visited Scotland many times, this very beautiful country, and I’m truly in love with the Scottish landscape and nature.

“I really hope once finished this project will attract many people from the UK, and around the world, to the city and the museum. I hope as well that people from Dundee will use it as an everyday part of their city; that they will go there to enjoy the building with its surrounding public space and find a harmonious relationship between the museum, the riverside, the city and themselves.

“I am delighted and satisfied with what we’ve achieved so far. The realisation of the strong façade is great. We were able to express the dynamic scale of the interior, too – just as we had planned.”

V&A Dundee will be the first building in the UK designed by Kengo Kuma, the internationally renowned architect who is also part of the team designing the Tokyo 2020 Olympic stadium.

His vision is for the museum 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.

Philip Long, Director of V&A Dundee, said: “It is a real pleasure to have the architect of V&A Dundee, Kengo Kuma, with us today to see the incredible progress that has been made in bringing his vision to life. Everyone working on the design and construction should be incredibly proud of what they’ve achieved.

“V&A Dundee has been out in communities across Scotland since 2014 with talks, workshops and exhibitions, meeting thousands of people and sharing our passion for the importance of design. We can’t wait to welcome everyone when we open the museum next year.”

John Alexander leader of Dundee City Council, said: “It’s fantastic to have Kengo Kuma here to cast his expert eye over this amazing feat of engineering, particularly as V&A Dundee moves closer to completion.

“V&A Dundee is a very visible and tangible example of the city’s growing confidence, culture and regeneration – something which everyone in Dundee has bought into.

“The city has a new energy and vibrancy and this is a clear example of our bold ambition.”

Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop, said: “I commend V&A Dundee and architect Kengo Kuma for what is an incredible achievement for the city and the whole of Scotland.

“As is fitting for an international centre of design, Kengo Kuma’s vision has been instrumental in making the V&A Dundee building a stunning piece of art and the perfect setting for the future exhibitions that it will host.

“I look forward to celebrating the opening of the museum in 2018: this will represent a key milestone towards achieving Dundee’s waterfront regeneration ambitions, and will further enhance Scotland’s economic and cultural development.”

V&A Dundee is part of the V&A’s UK-wide and international expansion and will be the only V&A museum anywhere in the world outside London. It will be the first ever dedicated design museum in Scotland: an international centre for design, a place of inspiration, discovery and learning.

V&A Dundee has been established in close partnership with the V&A Museum in London, drawing on its collections, curatorial expertise and exhibitions.

V&A Dundee is run independently with its own Director and, as well as bringing V&A exhibitions to Scotland, it will develop its own exhibitions.

It will present the largely untold story of Scotland’s outstanding design achievements, bringing together in one place the world-renowned V&A collections with loans from other collections in Scotland and beyond.

These collections will be accompanied by some of the best of the V&A’s international touring exhibitions, making Dundee the principal location in the UK outside London to receive these globally significant exhibitions.

V&A Dundee is being developed with support from the Scottish Government, Heritage Lottery Fund, Dundee City Council, the UK Government, Creative Scotland, Scottish Enterprise, University of Dundee, Abertay University and many trusts and private donors.