Architect of Dundee's V&A museum wants to create another building in Scotland

Japanese architect Kengo Kuma won the competition to design Dundee's V&A museum eight years ago.
Japanese architect Kengo Kuma won the competition to design Dundee's V&A museum eight years ago.
0
Have your say

The architect of Dundee's new V&A museum of design says he wants to return to Scotland to work on another project.

Kengo Kuma said he would like to work in Scotland's natural landscape - because of the similarities he sees with his native Japan.

Kengo Kuma says Dundee's V&A Museum had been designed to connect the city centre with its waterfront.

Kengo Kuma says Dundee's V&A Museum had been designed to connect the city centre with its waterfront.

Kuma was in Dundee to inspect the building eight years after winning an international design competition for the site overlooking the River Tay.

The £80 million project is ran into serious trouble three years ago when it emerged that it budget had almost doubled.

But since work began in March 2015 it has been running to schedule and an opening date has already been announced for September this year. It is expected to attract around 350,000 visitors a year.

Kuma said he would definitely be back in Dundee for the museum's long-awaited public opening - but hinted that we also be keen to return to work in a remote corner of Scotland if the right project turns up.

Dundee's 80 million V&A museum is due to open in September.

Dundee's 80 million V&A museum is due to open in September.

He said: "I really like Scotland. I feel there is a real similarity between Scotland and Japan, especially the landscapes.

"I really like the nature of Scotland. It would be good to find a really beautiful site. I would really like to work within that landscape.

"For us, the landscape is always a really important part of a building."
Kuma drew inspiration from the sea-cliffs of Abroath for his entry to the V&A Dundee design competition.

Their look has been replicated with 2500 cast stone panels which have been hung on the curved concrete walls of the three-storey museum, which reaches 60 feet tall at its highest point.

Work is underway to fit out Dundee's V&A museum ahead of its opening in September.

Work is underway to fit out Dundee's V&A museum ahead of its opening in September.

He envisages it become a new "living room" for Dundee, for everyone in the city to congregate and socialise, but also to connect the city centre with the waterfront, where a new public park in front of the Caird Hall, Slessor Gardens, will be extended.

He told The Scotsman: "I feel that the building is totally integrated with the river now. It was my goal with the project to create a real harmony and I feel that is what has been achieved.

"I am relieved that the building has now been completed after the delays getting started. I was confident it would be finished on schedule once work began.

"It was not an easy structure to build but the construction company has done a very good job. It's looking beautiful inside.

Construction work began on the waterfront museum in March 2015.

Construction work began on the waterfront museum in March 2015.

"Inside the building we have used the same philosophy as the exterior of the building, but with oak panels.

"I know this project is very important for the city. The land the museum has been built on was not used for a very long time. But now the city can have a proper connection with its river."

The building, which is due to open to the public in September, is now being fitted out with its gallery spaces, as well as a cafe-bar and restaurant overlooking the River Tay.

Mike Galloway, director of city development at Dundee City Council, said: "We are absolutely on programme from the day we started work in March 2015.

"The plan was for the building to be handed over and have a period of seven or eight months to get it ready for opening. It's been an amazing achievement.

"The building is looking absolutely faithful to Kengo Kuma's design. What we have delivered is exactly to his design."

Council leader John Alexander said: "The building is looking absolutely phenomenal.

"People in Dundee can now really see what the museum represents in terms of what we are trying to do with the city, it's a real cornerstone. But it's a museum of national significance.

"There have been challenges in terms of the funding and logistics, but I think we have got really good value for money when you look at the investment interest and international attention there is in the city now. It's all on the back of Dundee V&A."

The museum will chart several hundred years of Scottish design heritage and also host regular exhibitions drawn from the V&A's collections in London.

Dundee V&A director Philip Long said: "V&A Dundee has always been an ambitious project which aims to make an impact not only in Dundee and Scotland, but all around the world.

“Kengo Kuma’s design, which beautifully links the city and the River Tay, is already attracting global interest.

"I’d like to thank everyone who has worked on this project with its remarkable construction and engineering.

“Dundee is an exciting, creative city with an incredible history of design innovation. I am proud that our museum can be part of the ongoing regeneration of the city, attracting investment and creating new jobs.”

Mr Kuma said: "I'm delighted to return to Dundee and see the completed construction of V&A Dundee.

“I'm pleased to meet with some of the people who have brought our design to life, and to give my thanks for their hard work in creating this complex structure.

“I love the Scottish landscape and this very beautiful country, and I am proud to be working on this project which will attract people to Dundee from all over the world.”

An official public opening date of Saturday 15 September has been announced, but still to be announced are details of an official opening celebration, which is expected to be a highlight of Scotland’s Year of Young People.

The first major exhibition at V&A Dundee will see rare artefacts, outfits, works of art, furniture and fittings from some of the world’s greatest liners go on display.

The first visitors will also be able see the largest remaining fragment of the Titanic, from the first-class lounge of the doomed vessel, as well as a diamond and pearl tiara which was saved from the Lusitania when it was sunk in a German u-boat attack off the Irish coast in the First World War.

Two of the four galleries museum will have permanent displays telling “the story of Scotland’s outstanding design heritage.”

Around 300 objects spanning more than 500 years will showcase everything from furniture, textiles, metalwork and ceramics to the latest digital technology, innovations in the health service, modern-day architecture and fashions.

Going on display will be a 500-year-old book of Christian text, prayers and psalms featuring several Scottish saints, a Jacobite garter, a Highland pistol, a pair of “Wellington Boots,” a Dennis the Menace artwork from the famous comic strip and an elephant-shaped case designed by the artist Eduardo Paolozzi for the linoleum company Nairn Floors.

Also included will be an Indian throne chair created by a Berwickshire painter Robert Home, a bookcase created by “Glasgow Style” designer George Logan for the city’s famous International Exhibition in 1901 and a recreation of part of a Glasgow tearoom designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh.