The Scottish government is hoping to lift the image and economy of the city of Dundee with a new satellite of the Victoria & Albert Museum, and they are looking for a world-class building to house it. Today, they announced that Japanese architect Kengo Kuma has been selected to design the new museum, beating out a competitive field of rivals including Snøhetta, REX, Steven Holl Architects, Delugan Meissl Associated Architects, and Sutherland Hussey Architects.
“Kengo Kuma’s proposal was the unanimous choice of the jury panel and is a worthy winner,” Lesley Knox, chair of the V&A at Dundee project and of the jury panel, said in a statement. “It’s a building that will delight visitors and encourage them to revisit it again and again. It demonstrates a clear understanding of the city, offers a new experience of the river, and will be as exciting internally as it will be externally.”
Kuma’s horizontal design befits its riverside location with a boat-like form that appears to float, in spite of its weighty, striated stone facades. Accessed by a wide bridge that also serves as a plaza and riverfront lookout, the building is mostly opaque, with a few wedge-shaped openings for the entrance and carefully framed views out. In addition to housing traveling exhibitions from the V&A, the building will house a Scottish design incubator. Inside, a double-height gathering space with bleacher seating will divide the galleries from the incubator space and other uses. The project is the centerpiece of a larger redevelopment effort along the River Tay.
“The Kengo Kuma design gives us something which is bold and ambitious but buildable and practical. It is a beautiful stone building, which elegantly meets the requirements we laid out in the brief,” juror Mike Galloway, director of city development for the Dundee City Council, said in a statement. “This is a harmonious and integrated response to this unique site, which enhances the overall Waterfront Project.”
Kuma’s firm will have to work with a tight budget of £45 million. Construction is expected to begin in 2012.