V&A Opens Exhibition Road Quarter
Tomorrow the Victoria & Albert Museum in London opens its largest project in more than a century: V&A Exhibition Road Quarter, designed by Amanda Levete and her firm AL_A.
The project consists of a new entrance, a purpose-built gallery for temporary exhibitions, a courtyard with café, and the refurbishment of the 19th century Aston Webb Screen. The last, whose 1,375 stones were in storage for three years during the project's construction, faces Exhibition Road, the main north-south spine between the V&A on the east and the Natural History Museum on the west.
The Sackler Courtyard is being billed as the first porcelain-tiled public courtyard in the world. It is made with 14,500 porcelain tiles, which align with the V&A's original building and its collection of 19th century decorative ceramics.
From the courtyard, visitors enter Blavatnik Hall, a new entrance that is expected to handle half of the museum's 3.4 million annual visitors. Below the courtyard is the Sainsbury Gallery, a 1,100-sm column-free space with a striking pleated ceiling that is punctuated by a skylight that is visible from the courtyard. Facing the courtyard is a glass-walled café, which can extend into the outdoor space as a venue for events.
The 30 June opening coincides with the museum's 165th anniversary and comes six years after AL_A won the competition to design and realize the project. Exhibition Road will be closed to traffic on opening day in celebration of the project's completion.