Kengo Kuma

September opening date for Dundee’s £80m V&A museum

Architect Kengo Kuma during a visit to the V&A Museum last year

Dundee’s £80.1 million V&A Museum of Design will open its doors to the public for the first time on September 15, it was revealed today.

Designed by Kengo Kuma, the Japanese architect who also designed the Tokyo 2020 Olympic stadium, and being developed by BAM Construction, the project is only the second V&A museum anywhere outside of London.

Since construction started in April 2015, key milestones achieved include the completion of a coffer dam which enabled the foundation construction for the part of the building that will sit out over the Tay, groundworks on the former reclaimed dock site, piling for the ground source heating system and remodelling of the river wall.

Kengo Kuma visited the project in October, shortly after the removal of the coffer dam, as he saw his vision inspired by Scotland’s cliffs revealed for the first time.

The museum’s first visiting exhibition from the V&A London will be Ocean Liners: Speed and Style, which explores the design of some of the world’s most famous ships including The Titanic, Normandie, the Queen Mary and the Canberra.

Announcing the opening date this morning, V&A Dundee director, Philip Long, said: “After many years of planning for V&A Dundee, we are absolutely thrilled to announce the date of the new museum’s opening.

“In just eight months we will be opening the doors and welcoming our first visitors. V&A Dundee is set to be a vital new cultural organisation for Dundee, the UK and beyond, helping to change understanding of just how important design and creativity are to people’s lives. We are enormously grateful to all our supporters for helping to make this happen.

“V&A Dundee brings something new to Scotland. It is the country’s first museum dedicated to design, which visitors will be able to experience and get involved with in very many ways.

“Particularly important is that the new museum enables major V&A exhibitions to be seen more widely by more people across the UK.

“So I am especially excited that part of V&A Dundee’s opening programme will be the breath-taking exhibition Ocean Liners: Speed & Style, the first of many ambitious exhibitions at V&A Dundee that will show how our lives have been – and always will be – shaped by design.”

V&A Dundee architect sees cliff-inspired vision revealed for first time

VA Kengo visitThe architect of V&A Museum of Design Dundee said he is “delighted and satisfied” as he saw his vision inspired by Scotland’s cliffs revealed for the first time.

Kengo Kuma visited the £80.1 million project shortly after the removal of a temporary cofferdam which allowed the museum to be built into the water.

The resulting realisation of the façade is a dramatic river-facing front of the museum which juts outs into the River Tay.

For Kengo Kuma, the Japanese architect who also designed the Tokyo 2020 Olympic stadium, this aspect of the building coupled with the reflecting ponds which surround and flow between the two blocks, completes a “continuous waterscape” and brings a sense of nature to the development.

Image by Ross Fraser McLean

Image by Ross Fraser McLean

Mr Kuma 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.”

The removal of the cofferdam 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.

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.

Image by Ross Fraser McLean

Image by Ross Fraser McLean

No detail has been considered too small. Each of the windows are positioned to give visitors specific outward views towards the River Tay and its two bridges. Even the smaller windows are placed to provide a shimmering effect as the sunlight bounces off the intricate angles.

V&A Dundee director, Philip Long, said the relationship between Dundee and the River Tay has been re-established and reinvigorated by Kengo Kuma’s designs.

Asked about his most pleasing element to the build so far, Mr Long reflected on a boat trip he took when the coffer dam was first removed to see the building finally emerge from the land and connect with the water.

Image by Ross Fraser McLean

Image by Ross Fraser McLean

He told Scottish Construction Now: “We took the sensible decision early based on cost and risk to bring the building closer to the land and a fantastic public space has been created as a result.

“It has been a pleasure working alongside Kengo Kuma Associates and to see the team respond to challenges in creative ways.”

Mr Long added: “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.”

Image by Ross Fraser McLean

Image by Ross Fraser McLean

For Malcolm Boyd, construction manager at BAM Construct UK, the jewel in the crown is ‘Wall 14’, a sloping curved structure on the northern block reminiscent of a wave which Boyd describes as “absolutely fantastic”.

He added the elements of the inside of the museum, which will remain under wraps to all but a select few until the official opening, are “simply breathtaking”.

John Campbell, commercial manager at BAM Construct UK, told Scottish Construction Now of his satisfaction of seeing the whole project team pulling in the same direction.

He added: “Seeing the complicated parts all coming together so well has been great. The whole team has been working together with the same goal of creating something special. Its been a tremendous effort by everyone.”

Construction of the building will be completed by the end of December with the museum scheduled to open next summer.

£80m V&A Dundee museum celebrates ‘topping out’ milestone

VA Dundee topping out 6A ‘topping out’ ceremony was held today to mark a significant moment in the construction of the £80.11 million V&A Museum of Design Dundee.

Local schoolchildren were involved in the event which saw a Douglas Fir tree positioned ceremonially by crane at the highest point of the building, nearly two years on from the start of construction.

The tree will be in position temporarily for the ceremony on Wednesday and will be planted as part of the landscaping at the site later.

Designed by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, the BAM Construction project is on schedule to open to the public next year.

Since construction started in April 2015, key milestones achieved include the completion of a coffer dam which enabled the foundation construction for the part of the building that will sit out over the Tay, groundworks on the former reclaimed dock site, piling for the ground source heating system and remodelling of the river wall.

VA Dundee topping out 1

Core inner walls, stairwell and lift cores and the outer double curvature walls of the building have all now been constructed

This year, following the removal of formwork, pre-cast panels will be installed to the exterior walls to give the building its unique slatted, multi-layered appearance.

These horizontal panels will create the appearance of a cliff face, realising Kengo Kuma’s vision inspired by the coastline of north eastern Scotland. Each panel weighs up to 3000kg and spans up to 4 metres.

Malcolm Boyd, construction manager at BAM Construction, said: “Every phase of this unique, challenging project is exciting. The BAM team continues to make good progress on construction and, along with Dundee City Council and V&A Dundee, takes great pride in building this cultural landmark for the future in Dundee.”

Construction of V&A Dundee has also created a number of benefits for young people.

There have been 17 new start employment opportunities created, 17 existing apprentices are working on the project and a further 6 apprenticeships have been initiated on the project.

There have been 7 work experience placements as part of employability programmes, most of which have been of twelve weeks duration, and 7 work experience placements for school pupils.

va dundee topping out 7

The corridor between the two buildings show the fixtures to which the cladding will connect

The pupils from today’s ceremony, from Our Lady’s and Rosebank primary schools, have been taking part in the Bonnetmakers design project with V&A Dundee which has seen them explore the traditions of Dundee bonnet making and look forward to the impact the museum will have on their futures.

Dundee City Council administration leader, Councillor Ken Guild, praised the effort of BAM Construction and Careys in producing a building “which would have been impossible to build ten years ago”.

Mr Guild said: “This is a significant and exciting development in the construction of this fantastic building, which has already made an impact on the skyline of the city beside the River Tay.

“The aspirational V&A Dundee project is designed to provide the city and Scotland with a world-class museum, which will help to provide jobs and wider economic benefits.

“We are seeing something truly unique coming to fruition and I am delighted that Dundee young people are here to witness a very special moment in this project.”

Cabinet secretary for culture, Europe and external affairs, Fiona Hyslop, said: “Today’s topping out ceremony marks an important achievement for V&A Dundee, and a key milestone towards achieving Dundee’s ambitions for the city as well as Scottish culture and tourism.

“The Scottish Government has been a long-time supporter of the project, recognising the significant economic contribution that this signature building can bring to the regeneration of Dundee’s waterfront, giving the city and Scotland a world-class design museum and visitor attraction.”

IMG_20170301_1145139-panoramaPhilip Long, director of V&A Dundee, said: “V&A Dundee will be a major international cultural venue and tourism attraction, based in Dundee but showcasing collections from – and working with communities – across Scotland.

“The completion of the museum’s incredible walls marks a major step in this project, and one which would not have been possible without the vision of our architect, the construction expertise of BAM and Arup’s remarkable structural engineering solutions.

“As is fitting for an international centre of design, the building itself is a stunning piece of design. We’re delighted that our galleries, exhibitions and learning activities will have such an inspiring home.”

Kengo Kuma marks start of work on Dundee V&A museum

V&A Dundee 2

Kengo Kuma visited Dundee today to witness the official ceremony to mark start of construction work on the £80 million V&A museum.

More than seven years of planning, discussion and preparation have already gone into bringing the Japanese architect’s ambitious vision to fruition.

Diggers and bulldozers have been busily preparing the site for several months and today Mr Kuma was on hand to witness at first hand the start to building the “museum with a mission”.

The event was marked by the exchanging of gifts with the architect and Pipe Sergeant of the Arbroath Royal British Legion Pipe Band playing Bonnie Dundee.

The construction, which is taking place on the banks of the Tay in the heart of the city’s waterfront district, will be the first ever design museum to be built outside the UK.

It is also the first British building by Mr Kuma, a globally renowned architect who won the contract after being chosen by an international panel.

He was joined by culture secretary Fiona Hyslop, representatives of the V&A Dundee project group, Dundee City Council and BAM Construction, which is carrying out the work.

Mr Kuma said: “It’s always a great pleasure to visit Scotland, a country I love very much. When I first arrived for the competition site visit in 2010, Dundee was a very different place.

“Already you can see the connection between the beautiful waterfront setting, the environment and the city is so much stronger.

“We are delighted that our vision for the V&A Dundee building, which was originally inspired by the breathtaking natural setting, is now starting to take physical shape, creating a real sense of place.

“We look forward to forging even closer links between the people and cultures of Japan and Scotland over the coming years as we create our first British building.”

Ms Hyslop said: “Kengo Kuma has set out a spectacular vision for V&A Dundee that heralds a bright future for Dundee as the UK’s first UNESCO City of Design.

“Today work begins in earnest on a world-class design museum for the whole of Scotland and demonstrates our ambitions for Dundee as well as Scottish culture and tourism.

“Hundreds of thousands of visitors from far and wide will come to V&A Dundee to enjoy its world-class exhibitions.

“The benefits are much larger than the £11.4 million boost to the economy, V&A Dundee will showcase Scotland’s renowned design heritage, the talent of our nation and stimulate innovation to drive our economy forward.”

The project, which has been dubbed ‘The Guggenheim of Dundee’, is planned to be open to the public in June 2018.

Director of V&A Dundee Philip Long presented Mr Kuma with a commemorative silver vessel, privately commissioned for the ceremony as a contemporary take on a traditional Scottish quaich.

The vessel was created by Beth Henderson, a level 3 BDes Jewellery & Metal Design student at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design.

Mr Kuma presented a sake bottle made of washi paper created through a project set up after the 2011 earthquake to help skilled craftsmen from the East Japan region to restore their business after the natural disaster.

The bottle was designed by Kengo Kuma & Associates and manufactured by Shiroishi Washi Koubou from the Miyagi Prefecture. The gift will eventually be displayed in the new design museum.

Initial work on site will include the creation of a coffer dam, and the installation of site hoardings.

Phillip Long said: “This is a special day, a historic moment for Dundee. We are beginning the construction of a new building that, through its design, already helps symbolise this city’s new confidence.

“As the building develops, day-by-day it will demonstrate Dundee’s growing ambition in a very real and physical way.

“We believe this is a project that has the potential to reshape our national landscape and be of benefit to all of us. We would like to thank everyone who has helped us reach this momentous day and we hope to keep all of our supporters and champions involved and inspired a long way into the future.”