London | The renovated V&A Museum by Amanda Levete Architects

Place: London, Country: United Kingdom
Client: Victoria & Albert Museum - London
Victoria & Albert museum: Gallery for temporary exhibitions, public courtyard and new museum entrance on Exhibition Road.
Architect: AL_A , Amanda Levete Architects
Images courtesy of the Victoria & Albert Museum
Text by Federica Lusiardi


The Sackler Courtyard, the V&A Exhibition Road Quarter, designed by AL_A ©Hufton+Crow

The renovated Victoria & Albert Museum by AL_A – Amanda Levete Architects

On June 30, 2017, the renovated Victoria and Albert Museum in London has been unveiled to the public. Indeed, the “V&A Exhibition Road Quarter” project has come to its completion with the opening of a new main entrance on Exhibition Road – the most renowned cultural hotspot in London – and the creation of a sequence of renovated spaces, such as the colonnade designed by Aston Webb, now converted into the main entrance of the museum, and the Sackler courtyard, a public space physically and visually linked to Exhibition Road, paved with 11,000 handmade ceramic tiles.
The renovation project also features the brand new Sainsbury Gallery, a 1,100-square-meter / 11,840-square-foot column-free flexible space conceived to support and enhance the ambitious international special exhibition program of the V&A.

Amanda Levete, the founder of AL_A Architects and design leader of the V&A Exhibition Road Quarter plan, underlined the relevance of this project from an urban planning point of view, as well as how much it could redefine the role of the Victoria and Albert Museum and its relationship with the other cultural institutions located nearby.


The Aston Webb Screen, the V&A Exhibition Road Quarter, designed by AL_A ©Hufton+Crow



The Sackler Courtyard, the V&A Exhibition Road Quarter, designed by AL_A ©Hufton+Crow


The staircase, the V&A Exhibition Road Quarter, designed by AL_A ©Hufton+Crow



The Sainsbury Gallery, The V&A Exhibition Road Quarter, designed by AL_A  ©Hufton+Crow

(Inexhibit, April 2016)

The second phase of the renovation and redesign of the Victoria & Albert Museum is underway, and the design by AL_A – Amanda Levete Architects for the new space on Exhibition Road takes shape intending to open the new spaces in 2017.
The Exhibition Road Building is part of the “Future Plan” project, aimed to create innovative exhibition spaces and settings and improve the visitors’ experience while restoring the original historical architecture of the V&A building.

exhibition road-V&A-Courtyard-day-Amanda Levete Architects

Victoria & Albert Museum: V&A new courtyard at night, and by day (c) AL_A

The project by AL_A includes a large underground exhibition space, an open-air courtyard, and a new entrance hall on Exhibition Road which will connect – both functionally and symbolically – the V&A with the museums nearby; furthermore profiting of the recent renovation which has transformed the street into a pedestrian plaza, paved in granite stone and equipped with public site furniture and a new lighting system.

exhibition road-V&A-descent-Amanda Levete Architects

Victoria & Albert Museum: V&A Descent, rendering, (c) AL_A

exhibition road-V&A-February-16-construction-Amanda Levete Architects

Victoria & Albert Museum: V&A Descent, construction, February 2016

exhibition road-V&A-Entrance-Lobby-Amanda Levete Architects

Victoria & Albert Museum: Entrance lobby, rendering, (c) AL_A

The focal point of the project is indeed the transformation of a space that was inaccessible to the public – a sort of “backyard” – into an open-air hall, paved in ceramic, which will accommodate site-specific installations, special events, and a cafeteria.

exhibition road-new-V&A-museum-Aston-Webb-Screen-Amanda Levete Architects

Victoria & Albert Museum: Aston Webb screen, (c) AL_A

The crucial point is the redesign of the historic facade on Exhibition Road, designed by Sir Aston Webb in the late 19th century, which will create a surprising relationship between the heart of the Victoria & Albert Museum and the street, on which other major museums such as the Natural History Museum and the Science Museum are located.

exhibition-road-courtyard-tile-mock-up-Amanda Levete Architects

Victoria & Albert Museum: Dry courtyard tile mock-up, (c) AL_A

“AL_A’s project will unlock the potential to bring new audiences into the V&A, breaking down the separation between street and museum, and taking the V&A onto Exhibition Road and Exhibition Road into the V&A. The changes to Exhibition Road have already significantly increased the number of pedestrians who use it but this is just the beginning of a more ambitious intention: to make Exhibition Road a place where culture and learning are accessible to people of all ages and backgrounds. At the heart of the brief is the new exhibition space to accommodate the V&A’s headline exhibitions. It will feel both of the moment of its creation, providing twenty-first century standards, and a natural part of the continuing development of the museum. Victoria & Albert Museum.” (Amanda Levete Architects)

exhibition-road-Cafe-roof-tiles-Amanda Levete Architects

Victoria & Albert Museum: Cafe roof tiles, (c) AL_A

new V&A museum London Amanda Levete Architects interior view

Victoria & Albert Museum: new gallery, (c) AL_A

Client: Victoria & Albert Museum, London.
Architect: AL_A, Amanda Levete Architects
Program: Gallery for temporary exhibitions, public courtyard, and new museum entrance
Area: 6,360 m2
Construction Value: £33m
Status: under construction: commencement 2011 / completion 2017

Images, courtesy of Victoria & Albert Museum

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