In the heart of London one of the largest architectural interventions of the Victoria and Albert Museum in 100 years has opened its doors; the long waited Exhibition Road Quarter. The V&A is one of the largest and best known museums in Art & Design. The project is designed by the Stirling Prize winning architectural firm AL_A (Amanda Levete Architects). The projects includes a new entrance, courtyard, café, museum shop and a large column-free exhibition space 15 meters below ground.
photo: V&A Exhibition Road Quarter, designed by AL_A ©Hufton+Crow
The press writes:
“An angular cafe pavilion rises up from one side of the square, standing like a luxury yacht on a bright white porcelain sea. Its roof snakes around the corner and up to the second storey of the museum. Across the piazza stands the steel hull of a roof-light (red.: de Oculus), designed to bring the sun’s rays into the gallery below. “It’s about making the invisible visible,” says Levete, “signalling the presence of what lies beneath.” Its mirror polished interior and red-tinted glazing adds another flash of bling.”
“one of the year’s most anticipated architectural projects endeavors.”
Almost everything you see on the courtyard comes from Dutch suppliers, besides the porcelain tiles from Koninklijke Tichelaar Makkum, Octatube is responsible for all the other bespoke materials on the courtyard.
On behalf of Wates Construction, Octatube did the design, engineering, production and installation of different structural glass assemblies and stainless steel structures. In total there are six building parts, each characterized by its own detailing and challenges: the spectacular Oculus skylight as eye-catcher of the new plaza, the triangular shaped staircase skylight, the structural glazed café- and shop facades, the shop roof skylight and the glass ‘link’ between the existing Western Range and the new museum shop.
foto: The Sackler Courtyard, the V&A Exhibition Road Quarter, designed by AL_A ©Hufton+Crow
The project is characterized by top end material quality and a high level of craftsmanship, finishes and bespoke detailing. Besides these challenges there was a very tight construction site and an enormous geometrical challenge. A very passionate architect has pushed the limits in every detail. All the project's building components and interfaces are bespoke. To ensure a successful project it was essential to design and engineer everything completely in 3D.