A digital rendering of the seven-storey building that will house the new museum. Image (c) V&A

V&A outlines vision for Olympic outpost

Geraldine Kendall, 27.04.2016
New museum in east London set to open in 2021
The Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) in London has unveiled more details of its plans for V&A East, the seven-storey museum that will be built at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in east London.

The 18,000-square-metre site will be an “entirely new kind of civic institution”, according to the V&A. It will have a core remit to respond quickly to current affairs, and plans to engage visitors with all aspects of its work, making its storage, research, fabrication and conservation spaces visible to the public.
 
The building is being designed by the O’Donnell-Tuomey architectural practice and will include galleries for temporary exhibitions and performances, studios for design practitioners, and a “public living room” civic space.

A large part of V&A East's remit will centre on “contemporary design in the digital age”, as it aims to become the UK’s first dedicated museum space to tell the history of digital design. The new site will allow the V&A to put a greater proportion of its 2.4m-strong collection on public display.

“The creation of something so new, ambitious and risk-taking is a colossal opportunity and responsibility,” said the V&A’s director Martin Roth.

To offer a foretaste of the new museum ahead of its physical development, the V&A will launch a programme of events this year in partnership with organisations in east London. The first of these, a micro museum, will open next month in Chrisp Street Market in Poplar.

The new museum is slated to open in 2021. It will form a central part of “Olympicopolis”, the cultural and education district being developed at the Olympic site.

Meanwhile the V&A’s project to extend its Kensington museum has been given a boost after the Russian oligarch Leonard Blavatnik donated an undisclosed multi-million-pound sum to the museum through his charity, the Blavatnik Family Foundation.

The museum has now raised £47m of the £49m it needs for the extension, which will include an underground gallery, a new courtyard space and an entrance hall opening onto Exhibition Road. The project is due for completion in 2017.

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