Planning permission for a new extension to the Victoria & Albert Museum has officially been granted today. The £41 million project will be the biggest new art space in London since the Tate Modern.The bid to design a 1,500 square metre underground gallery for temporary exhibitions, courtyard and entrance on Exhibition Road was won by architecture firm, AL_A, in March 2011. We interview Amanda Levete, founder and director of the firm, about the specifics of the plans and her thoughts on the government’s support of British architecture. Amanda Levete is one of the most successful women in architecture and is married to Ben Evans, director of The London Design Festival. She regularly collaborates with artists such as Anish Kapoor and has previously worked on projects such as the Selfridges department store in Birmingham, the media centre at Lord’s cricket ground and, with her own firm, installing ‘The Timber Wave’ in the entrance to the V&A.
The form intends to compliment the 19th century gallery, yet still maintain its individuality as a separate element. The extension, then, becomes not “one building connected to another but as something more abstract: a gesture that merges landscape with building.” The urban gallery’s setting within Whitworth Park allows the building to merge with the landscape to “create a dynamic and inhabitable” space. “As the park becomes the folds of fabric, these folds are sliced, peeled, and pulled to house, expose, and articulate the new program of activities of that embodies the new Whitworth Gallery,” explained the architects. The park seems to be gathered together and drawn into the building, creating an extension that fosters a relationship between interior and exterior, object and landscape.
More images after the break.
Architect: Amanda Levete Architects
Location: London, England
Project Director: Ho-Yin Ng
Project team: Gidon Fuehrer, Chris Geneste, Soren Aagaard, Alan Dempsey – Project Architect, John O’Mara, Michael Mitchell
Client: Clarendon Properties
Main Contractor: Powells Group
Façade: Frener & Reifer
Interiors: Windsor Workshop Ltd.
Constructed Area: 14,220 sqm
Project year: 2007-2009
Photographs: Gidon Fuehrer