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V&A Dundee

Designed to be a link between nature and the city, the V&A Dundee museum is an important part of the culture-led regeneration taking place across the city and along its dockside.

Izzy Ashton

Assistant Editor of BITE

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Architecture - V&A Dundee

For those of us who live and work in London, it is easy to reduce our cultural focus to solely what the city has to offer. Every day, its museums, comedy clubs, jazz bars and cultural spaces play host to a myriad number of eclectic events, so much so that it is easy to feel a certain, albeit privileged, degree of cultural fatigue.

But if you look outside this London-centric bubble, you realise that there are all sorts of cultural happenings taking place elsewhere. And this weekend sees the opening of one such, much anticipated, development: the V&A Dundee.

Marking the London-based museum’s first permanent outpost outside the city, the building becomes Scotland’s first design museum. Designed by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma after he won a competition back in 2010, it is his first building in the UK. Kuma said he wanted to create a “living room for the city”, a public yet simultaneously domestic space for its visitors.

The structure, which sits on the banks of the River Tay, was originally designed to rise up out of the water but, after several budgeting hiccups, was resigned to dry land. It has taken up residence beside the RRS Discovery, the ship that Shackleton and Scott sailed to Antarctica in at the start of the 20th century.

The museum protrudes out over the water like the bow of a ship, designed to reflect the city’s shipbuilding heritage. The exterior itself is clad in thousands of horizontal concrete panels which resemble the cliffsides and rugged landscape of Scotland. Kuma took his references directly from nature and incorporated them into his physical creation.

Designed to be a link between nature and the city, the museum is an important part of the culture-led regeneration taking place on the city’s dockside and across Dundee. The V&A expansion outside of London suggests a recognition of the artistic, creative community beyond the capital city.

The V&A Dundee opens on 15th September. Visit the museum’s website to find out more.

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