THE iconic V&A Museum on Dundee’s waterfront could be open to the public before the end of 2016 in a major boost for the city’s tourism economy, it was revealed today.
• V&A Museum in Dundee could open before end of 2016 as design is put out for tender notices
• V&A at Dundee director Philip Long rules out precise opening date but expects museum to play full part in City of Culture 2017 bid
The team behind the flagship development said that tender notices for the £45 million construction project - the first V&A museum outside London - would be advertised throughout Europe next week following the city council’s unanimous decision on Monday night to approve the futuristic design.
Preparatory work has already begun at the site at Discovery Point where the new V&A outpost museum, designed by award-winning Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, will be built.
The V&A at Dundee is being delivered by Design Dundee, a partnership between the V&A, Dundee City Council, the universities of Dundee and Abertay, and Scottish Enterprise. The consortium believes the striking structure will have the same impact on Dundee as Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum has had on the Spanish industrial city of Bilbao.
Philip Long, director of the V&A at Dundee, said: “This is an important moment for the V&A in Dundee and its development. I am delighted by the approval, which now allows us to move V&A at Dundee further towards realisation. The V&A at Dundee team has been working on detailed plans to translate the outline design into a construction model, and that work is now almost complete.
“The project is entering a new phase, where within the next few months people will begin to see evidence of V&A at Dundee coming into being.”
He continued: “Kengo Kuma’s fabulous design will give Dundee and Scotland a wonderful space to enjoy outstanding international exhibitions, and to learn about and get involved with Scotland’s remarkable history of design creativity. I believe it will attract visitors from across the world.”
Mr Long said he hoped that the museum could be open to the public by the end of 2016 and to play to key role in Dundee’s hoped for award of the prestigious UK City of Culture 2017 title.
But he stressed: “In developing capital projects it would be foolish at this stage to predict a precise opening date. The programme that we have set out will allow the V&A Dundee to play a full part in the City of Culture 2017.”
Mike Galloway, the director of city development at Dundee City Council, said: “Securing planning permission and the subsequent publication of the tender documents takes us closer towards constructing a world-class building that will have an international impact.
“V&A at Dundee will be a huge asset for the city as a focal point in the transformation of the whole waterfront area. Dundee City Council along with the partner organisations involved will be working closely together to ensure that the city reaps the huge benefits that will accrue from locating this prestigious museum in our city.”
He added: “We expect a contractor to be on site early next summer with the main fabric for the building completed at the end of 2015 and then fit out and installation of displays taking place in 2016.”
Mr Galloway said he was also confident that the museum could be built within budget. He said: “We have taken a very robust approach to cost control on this project. The quantity surveyors on the design team have been asked to take a totally realistic approach to estimating the construction cost for this building. We have also employed cost consultants.
“Both of those experienced companies have advised us that the project is within budget.”
£15 million has already been pledged by the Scottish Government, together with £3.25m in development funding. Another £15 million is expected from the Heritage Lottery Fund and European Union funds. A total of £4 million has also been secured towards the £15 million target for donations from private sources and charitable trusts.
Work has already started on the temporary infill of Craig Harbour beside RRS Discovery where the museum will be built. And the demolition of the nearby former Olympia Swimming Pool, estimated to take 40 weeks, is scheduled to start next month.
The infill at of the harbour will be used to create a working area around the construction site and will be removed once the museum is completed and filled with water again as part of the landscape setting for the new museum.