SCOTLAND The Victoria and Albert Museum at Dundee, by Kengo Kuma
This is the first building Kengo Kuma builds in the United Kingdom. It was the result of an international design competition. The new Scottish outpost of the Victoria and Albert Museum is located in the city of Dundee, overlooking the estuary of the river Tay and it is inspired by the Scottish cliffs of the North-East coast.
The new Scottish facility – the feather in the cap of an ambitious transformation of the city waterfront – was designed by the Japanese architect as an element connecting the river and the city: the basic idea was to merger architecture and nature, creating a vital area for the city. Its form reminds a vessel, echoing the time when shipbuilding and fabric trade were the lifeblood for the city.
The structure is very complex. External walls, in fact, turn both horizontally and vertically creating a wavy movement and generating a new form which reminds the hull of a ship.
This building works like a shell since it is a continuous and interconnected structure. The roof, the walls and the floors work together in order to make the building be stable. We take advantage from the external wall rotation and from their folds to give more strength to the structure. This special and researched form actually increases its supporting capacity.
At the heart of the museum, the Scottish Design Galleries show works from rich collections of Scottish design of V&A, as well as from private museums and collections in Scotland and all over the world. In the middle of these galleries there is the wonderful Charles Rennie Mackintosh Oak Room, a tea room which has been meticulously restored, kept and rebuild.
Pictures © Hufton+Crow