snohetta: V&A at dundee shortlisted design

milimetdesign updated from

design proposal of ‘V&A at dundee’ by snøhetta
all images courtesy snøhetta and V&A at dundee

norwegian architectural studio snøhetta is one of six shortlisted firms for the design
of ‘V&A at dundee‘, a new chapter of london’s victoria and albert museum in scotland.

taking advantage of the project’s site right next to the river tay, the design proposes to exploit
and heighten this connection by building the museum to float on the surface of the water.
a new public space is created which rises and falls in line with the perpetually changing river.
the resulting direct relationship reverses the conventional relationship between the building
and the water in that the urban fabric is no longer the fixed reference level but the changing
dynamic in the design.

site plan

the entrance plaza is the first threshold to the museum experience. at the waterfront,
it extends out to the union street axis to firmly anchor the floating building to the urban fabric.
a broad boardwalk leads out from this area to the entrance of the center, becoming an important
public spine to the design. on top of serving as a general arrival/departure location, the plaza cuts
and continues through the museum, providing views into the main hall, gallery and practitioner spaces
before spreading out into an active public space which include an urban beach. an upper deck to
the plaza serves to host the ‘design in action spaces’ and restaurant.

between the spans of the boardwalk and service link, a ‘tidal basin’ generates energy from the water
movement to the running costs and sustainability of the museum.

project diagrams
(top left) pedestrian access routes
(top right) public plaza
(bottom left) vehicular access routes
(bottom right) views and connections

entering the museum, the visitors descend into the double-height main hall. the space, which spans
the breadth of the building, frames views both to the river tay and back to the city of dundee.
the centrally located hall links together all of the main public spaces, galleries 1 & 2 to the west,
and galleries 3 & 4 with the design in action spaces to the east. in order to accommodate for larger
exhibition and events, the gallery spaces are largely flexible and adaptable with the capacity to open
up and join the main hall.

organization of the gallery

public spine

in order to further emphasize and maximize the position of the building on the river, the vertical facades
and roof are subtly angled to reflect the light from the water’s surface and the sky above. the outer skin
features convex moulded glass elements to prismatically reflect the conditions of its surrounding.
behind the glass skin, the inner facade varies in opacity to control the amount of direct sunlight and
views to the spaces within the building. across the roof of the main galleries, the outer cladding peels
away to further facilitate the natural day lighting effect.

reflective skin

the project

at high tide, the building rises up with the water level. the plaza angles towards the city.

at low tide, the building lowers itself with the water level. the plaza angles towards the building.

snapshots of the museum at differing water levels
(top left) both water levels low
(top right) the tay’s water level high, the pool’s water level low
(bottom left) both water levels high
(bottom right) the tay’s water level low, the pool0s water level high

section a-a

section b-b

section c-c

floor plan of main hall and gallery level

floor plan of entrance level

west elevation (at high tide)

north elevation (at high tide)

east elevation (at low tide)

south elevation (at average tide)

the other shortlisted firms are kengo kuma, REX, delugan meissl, steven holl and sutherland hussey.

the university of abertay dundee is currently hosting ‘V&A at dundee – making it happen’
which will exhibit all six shortlisted designs in drawings and models. the public is invited
to give their input and opinions of the designs until the 4th of november, 2010.
the winner will be announced in early november with the final building planned to open in 2014.

  • Source: snøhetta/
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