V&A gets green light and funding for ambitious Exhibition Road project

By Culture24 Reporter | 11 July 2012
an architects drawing of a stairway with glass roof
The design includes a staircase affording views of the V&A's historic facades© AL_A
The V&A’s ambitious plans to transform its boiler yard into a tranquil courtyard that will usher people from the bustle of Exhibition Road into a new, state-of-the-art underground gallery has been given the green light.

Planning permission for the Exhibition Road project from the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC) and a pledge of £25 million out of a total project budget of £41 million means a revolutionary new design by architects AL_A will now be developed.

A magnificent courtyard space and a new entrance from the recently landscaped Exhibition Road on the west side of the museum will also be created to draw people into the purpose-built underground gallery. The overall result will be a closer connection between the heart of the V&A and Exhibition Road.

an architects visualisation showing a gallery with light streaming in throough its roof
The V&A hopes the new gallery will help it improve its exhibition programme.© AL_A
V&A Director Martin Roth described the news as "a significant moment”, adding that “AL_A’s exceptional designs will provide a dynamic and exciting space sympathetically set within the V&A’s beautiful historic façade”.

“We’re thrilled to we have now secured £25 million, which sets us in a good position to embark on the project,” he said.

After winning an international competition in March 2011, AL_A have been developing the design for the gallery space, which the V&A says will allow it to "significantly improve" the way it designs and presents its exhibition programme.

The new space, which will be accessed by a staircase offering prominent views of the museum’s recently restored historic facades, will also see the museum welcome even more visitors through its doors.

Building work is planned to start in 2013 and be complete by the end of 2015, opening to the public in 2016.

More pictures:

an architects drawing showing light streaming into a gallery space
© AL_A
an architect's mock up of a street leading into a courtyard
The new vista from Exhibition Road© AL_A
an architect's mock up of an aerial view lookiing into a courtyard
An aerial view of the new courtyard© AL_A
a photograph of an internal yard with boiler houses
The bolier rooms currently in the courtyard space© V&A images
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