V&A at Dundee

V&A architect lends support to Dundee Waterfront plans

Kengo Kuma outside the V&A Dundee. Image Credit: Alan Richardson

The man behind the design of the new V&A museum in Dundee has voiced his support for the surrounding development planned at the city’s Waterfront.

World-renowned architect Kengo Kuma, who described the £80.1 million museum as “the peak of my career as an architect”, said plans for a mixed use development immediately north of the site, will provide an “appropriate backdrop” to the building.

Mr Kuma was speaking in the wake of his most recent visit to Dundee to see progress on the completed museum exterior.

The 63-year old Yokohama-born author and professor at the Graduate School of Architecture at the University of Tokyo said: “My building was always designed to complement and harmonise with its surroundings and the adjacent developments.

“It was never designed in isolation and was always meant to be part of a built environment with a flow of people and buildings with other uses in proximity.”

His comments come as a new council report unveiled that Marriott Hotels is in line to operate the new four star plus hotel.

Councillors will be asked to agree a letter of Intent with Marriott Hotels International Ltd to operate a hotel on site six under its ‘AC’ brand – the only one in Scotland.

Of the three expressions of interest submitted to the council to operate a hotel at the site Marriot’s was considered the most favourable in financial and quality terms.

Early visual of the mixed use development opposite the museum

Its proposal is for 6778.94 square metres (72,968 sq ft) of accommodation consisting of a 150 bedroom upscale, full service hotel. Facilities would include a restaurant and bar plus meeting/conference facilities and gym.

Lynne Short, convener of Dundee City Council’s city development committee, said: “The mixed use development at site six has always included proposals for a high quality new hotel at what is a uniquely prestigious location that offers a prime opportunity to add to our top class hotel facilities.

“An international, design-led hotel of this high level of prestige is essential if the city is to maximise the tourism potential of the V&A from both leisure and business visitors.”

Mr Kuma added: “Dundee Waterfront is a stunning location and the planned developments will create a thriving platform for the city’s ambitious regeneration and an appropriate backdrop for the V&A.”

John Alexander, leader of Dundee City Council, said: “The hotel at site six is the perfect fit for our vision for the waterfront. It matches exactly the scale of ambition that we have for the area and the whole city and is a sign that developers, operators and investors are seeing the mutual benefit of being involved at Dundee Waterfront.

“This a good deal for the council and a good deal for Dundee.”

According to the report due to be considered by the city development committee on Monday February 26 the proposed hotel development will employ around 120 full time equivalent posts plus a further 260 construction jobs during the building works.

Site six is located to the south west of Slessor Gardens and immediately north of the new V&A Dundee and is around 5,940 square metres (63,937 sq.ft.).

Planning permission was granted in June last year for a mixed use development comprising a hotel, office space, residential and ground floor spaces which will be suitable for leisure, food & drink and retail uses.

Robertson Group, together with architects Cooper Cromar, will deliver the project.

And finally… Graffiti tribute to V&A Dundee architect

A Dundee graffiti artist has paid tribute to Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, the designer of the £80.1 million V&A Museum of Design on the city’s waterfront.

Artist SYKE created the black and white portrait of Kengo Kuma on a wall near Seabraes, less than a mile from the flagship building.

SYKE, whose real name is Symon Mathieson, told The Courier: “He has designed a stunning building for our city.

“This is just a little way of saying thanks.”

Kengo Kuma visited Dundee last week to inspect the completed V&A building.

Images courtesy of SYKE on Facebook.

Kengo Kuma visits completed V&A Dundee

Image Credit: Alan Richardson

The architect of the £80.1 million V&A Museum of Design in Dundee visited the construction site today to see the completed building for the first time ahead of its opening on September 15.

Kengo Kuma, the internationally renowned architect who is also designing the National Stadium for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, met with construction staff from BAM Construct UK who have built the museum and thanked them for their hard work bringing his design to life.

Image Credit: Ross Fraser McLean

The focus now moves to the interior of V&A Dundee, fitting out the gallery spaces, installing objects and completing other areas including the café and restaurant ahead of the opening.

V&A Dundee will feature an ambitious international programme of changing exhibitions, permanent galleries of Scottish design, new design commissions, as well as community, family and learning activities.

Image Credit: Alan Richardson

Kengo Kuma said: “I am delighted to return to Dundee and see the completed construction of V&A Dundee.

“Today I am pleased to meet with some of the people who have brought our design to life, and to give my thanks for their hard work in creating this complex structure.

“I love the Scottish landscape and this very beautiful country, and I am proud to be working on this project which will attract people to Dundee from all over the world.”

V&A Dundee is Kengo Kuma’s first building in the UK, which he designed to become a new ‘living room for the city’, an open, welcoming space for everyone. Inspired by the cliffs along the east coast of Scotland, the museum is at the centre of the £1 billion transformation of Dundee’s waterfront.

Philip Long, director of V&A Dundee, said: “V&A Dundee has always been an ambitious project which aims to make an impact not only in Dundee and Scotland, but all around the world.

“Kengo Kuma’s design, which beautifully links the city and the River Tay, is already attracting global interest. I’d like to thank everyone who has worked on this project with its remarkable construction and engineering, including BAM Construct UK, Arup, Turner & Townsend and many, many others.

“Dundee is an exciting, creative city with an incredible history of design innovation. I am proud that our museum can be part of the ongoing regeneration of the city, attracting investment and creating new jobs.”

Image Credit: Ross Fraser McLean

More than 1,500 people have worked on the construction of the museum over the lifetime of the project, with the majority being local (within 35 miles of the site).

V&A Dundee has created 55 new employment opportunities through its construction, and a further 50 apprentices have worked on the project. The revitalised waterfront area is estimated to create an economic impact of £11.6m per year.

Image Credit: Alan Richardson

Dundee City Council leader, Councillor John Alexander, said: “Our city is at the centre of unprecedented global attention as anticipation mounts ahead of the September opening of V&A Dundee.

“This demonstrates the transformational impact that the museum of design is already having, as we strive to create new opportunities for people in the city.

“I am delighted that the construction experts who have done so much to realise Kengo Kuma’s vision are receiving praise from the architect for their part in this amazing project during today’s site visit.

“The building shows people how ambitious we are for Dundee and the future of the city.”

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.

New Dundee jobs for out of work bright sparks

DundeenewstartsThe future’s looking brighter for eight Dundee electricians who have just secured new jobs thanks to ongoing work at V&A Museum of Design Dundee.

The three qualified electricians and five apprentices, including an adult trainee, had been made redundant from local mechanical and electrical company, Scottish Electrical Group, when it ceased trading in August.

BAM Construction, which is building the prestigious V&A Dundee, was alerted to the situation by the Partnership Action for Continued Employment Partnership (PACE) who contacted their supply network to try and help the tradesmen. The group has now started working on site having secured permanent contracts with BAM’s mechanical and electrical installation sub-contractor FES.

Construction manager Malcolm Boyd said: “It’s a great feeling when you are able to pull together and help in this way and I’m really delighted for the team who will not only be a strong addition to the project but will also have the opportunity to work on one of the best building projects in the UK.”

Dundee City Council leader, Councillor John Alexander, said: “I am glad that the ongoing construction programme at V&A Museum of Design Dundee has enabled these people to find work and put their skills to use on this exciting project.

“The ambition of V&A Dundee will bring about substantial long term benefits for our city’s economy and the construction of the building has given a huge boost to those firms involved.

“I am encouraged to see how the project has helped workers who found themselves in very difficult circumstances.”

Philip Long, director of V&A Dundee, added: “We are delighted to see more local people gain employment on the construction of our new museum, particularly after facing unemployment. V&A Dundee will help boost the region’s economy, from the jobs we’re already creating to the hundreds of thousands of visitors we’ll welcome each year.”

Opening in 2018, V&A Dundee 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.

And finally… V&A Dundee gets the Star Wars treatment


A new video has uncovered the real purpose behind the Dundee V&A, and it is out of this world.

Created by Duncan of Jordanstone graphic design course director Gary Gowans, the video reveals that the Scotland’s first purpose-built design museum is indeed to be the home of the Millennium Falcon and other Star Wars spacecraft.

Kengo Kuma’s vision really is giving Dundee a new hope.

£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.”

Dundee Council unveils new £400m five-year building programme

Artist’s impression of Dundee’s new V&A museum

Artist’s impression of Dundee’s new V&A museum

Dundee City Council has outlined plans to invest almost £400 million on infrastructure projects across the city over the next five years.

The £387m programme to be undertaken between 2017 and 2022 takes in play areas, schools, the V&A Dundee, a replacement of Craigie House and initiatives designed to enhance jobs and regeneration.

Details of the projects will be outlined to the council’s policy and resources committee on October 31.

Depute policy and resources convener, Councillor Willie Sawers, said: “The council, its partners in the city and the Scottish Government have been working extremely hard together to put improvements in place for the people of this city.

“This annual review of the current Council Plan identifies a number of successes and highlights why we have extremely good grounds for optimism.

“But the report does highlight that there are a number of areas we need to keep concentrating on and we are all determined to make more efforts on the future.

“That is why I am pleased to see the ambition that is shown in the capital plan to take forward projects that will benefit people in communities across the city.

“School buildings, the V&A Dundee, well insulated council housing and a replacement for Craigie House are among the highlights of this excellent vision for our city.”

ZMMA appointed to design V&A Dundee galleries

Dundee V&A new insideThe V&A has chosen Zombory-Moldovan Moore Architects (ZMMA) to design the flagship Scottish Design Galleries for the new Museum of Design Dundee.

Housing the world-renowned V&A collection and other exhibits from around the world, the galleries will also tell the story of Scotland’s design achievements.

London practice ZMMA, which specialises in museum and art space projects, has previously worked on the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, the National Railway Museum in York and the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh.

Philip Long, director of V&A Dundee, said ZMMA would provide gallery space in the museum which would be sure to “inspire”.

He said: “This is a significant step for V&A Dundee, confirming the appointment of internationally acclaimed exhibition designers ZMMA.

“As well as covering all the practical considerations of displaying both historic and contemporary design in appropriate conditions, ZMMA’s design approach combines clever use of light, space, materials and interpretative techniques to create gallery displays that are sure to inspire.

“We look forward to working with them to create these permanent galleries which will showcase the most exciting Scottish designers working today, as well as presenting objects from our outstanding design heritage, many of which have not been previously seen.”

ZMMA director Adam Zombory-Moldovan promised the galleries and the museum housing them would be “stunning”.

He said: “We are delighted with V&A Dundee’s enthusiasm for our design approach and to have been awarded this great commission.

“This will be a stunning place and an astonishing Scottish design story, with a fantastic collection.

“We are thrilled to be working with V&A Dundee’s team to present the inspiration and importance of Scottish design – historic and contemporary – to local, national and international audiences.”

Dundee City Council leader Ken Guild said having a strong collection at the museum would help boost the city’s economy.

He added: “As the V&A Museum of Design Dundee rises at its waterfront site, work is already being done on the content and presentation in readiness for welcoming visitors.”

The V&A at Dundee is due to open in 2018.