The Victoria & Albert Museum in London has opened a branch in Scotland in a spectacular new building on the banks of the Firth of Tay by 64-year-old Kengo Kuma. The V&A Dundee will feature both historical and contemporary design. Kuma’s futuristic building, inspired by the cliffs on the Scottish coast, is the centerpiece in Dundee’s Tayside development. Kuma, who also designed the stadium for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, is regarded as a master at connecting buildings with their natural surroundings. His first project in the UK will connect people “like a living room” with their city and history.
The V&A Dundee appears to rise out of the water like the bow of a huge ship. Gray in gray, like the cliffs on the nearby North Sea coast, it is made from thousands of wave-like stone slabs. The two building sections in the form of inverted pyramids provide free access to the River Tay on the ground and are joined on the first floor. The overhang is almost 65.6 feet at the longest point.
The analogy continues in the huge oak-paneled atrium. The light-flooded hall, says Kuma, is intended to make visitors feel as if they are entering a Japanese temple. The 11,840 sf exhibition floor is reached via a wide staircase, glass elevator and dark limestone floor with fossil imprints.
Everywhere, circular passages, seating areas and cafés provide unexpected views of the water, cranes and the Tay bridge.
Duravit’s classic rectangular Vero washbasins in the washrooms are fully in keeping with the museum’s timelessly modern design.