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The 30th of June will see the V&A Exhibition Road Quarter open to the public for the first time. We were fortunate to have a preview of the new civic space, the new world-class gallery space for the V&A’s internationally acclaimed exhibition programme and a new entrance into the museum. The project is designed by Stirling Prize-winning architect Amanda Levete and her practice, AL_A.
The 48 million pounds development of the V&A Exhibition Road Quarter marks part of a new era for the Museum, as it prepares to expand its UK and international presence. The project is the Museum’s largest architectural addition in over 100 years and took six years to realise. The quarter will open up the Exhibition Road side of the museum and connect it to its near neighbours, the Natural History Museum and the Science Museum reigniting the ideas of Albertopolis with museums and public spaces.
When visitors arrive at the new quarter, they will go through the 1909 Aston Webb Screen and newly created colonnade. The stonework of the Aston Webb Screen retains the damage that World War II inflicted on the Museum, which is reflected in 11 sets of new metal gates.
They will then enter the Sackler Courtyard: the world’s first porcelain public courtyard, paved in 11,000 handmade tiles that were inspired by the rich tradition of ceramics at the V&A. This new public space for London also houses a café with furniture designed for the space by AL_A and manufactured by Moroso.
Visitors will enter the museum through the Blavatnik Hall: a new entrance into the V&A from Exhibition Road, which transforms how visitors experience and discover the Museum and its collections. The hall will also connect the newly displayed Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Galleries of Buddhist Art and the Dorothy and Michael Hintze Sculpture Galleries with views through to The John Madejski Garden.
Moving down the sweeping staircase, visitors will arrive at the new Sainsbury Gallery: a flexible, 1,100sq m column-free exhibition gallery that provides the V&A with a purpose-built space for its world-leading programme of temporary exhibitions. The first exhibition to be presented in The Sainsbury Gallery will create an immersive journey through nearly 400 years of opera. The exhibition entitled Opera: Passion, Power and Politics, is in collaboration with the Royal Opera House.
To celebrate the opening of the V&A Exhibition Road Quarter, there will be a free, week-long public festival (30 June-7 July) which will allow the public to explore the Museum’s newly designed spaces before exhibition programming begins in the autumn.
These are exciting times for the V&A and the opening of the new Exhibition Road Quarter provides access to the museum from the main thoroughfare of Exhibition Road. The courtyard will no doubt be very popular for the thousands of visitors and provides a new space for people to congregate before entering the museum. As would be expected, the strong design element in the new quarter is modern but with acknowledgement of its surroundings and the sweeping staircase down to the new gallery is spectacular and functional.
Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended
If you would like to visit the new V&A Exhibition Road Quarter, it opens on the 30th June 2017.
For more information , visit the V & A website here
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