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