21st-century makeover for London’s Victoria & Albert Museum

The new colonnade entrance from Exhibition Road uses the 1909 Aston Webb Screen. London’s Victoria & Albert Museum
The new colonnade entrance from Exhibition Road uses the 1909 Aston Webb Screen

See the results of London’s Victoria & Albert Museum’s biggest architectural project in 100 years

Founded in 1852, London’s Victoria & Albert Museum in South Kensington is the world’s leading museum of art and design.

Launched by Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert, the V&A was originally housed at Marlborough House and it moved to its current site on Exhibition Road in 1857.

The museum is at the heart of Albertopolis, a cultural quarter born out of the success of 1851’s Great Exhibition. The V&A’s first director was Sir Henry Cole, who was integral in the planning of The Great Exhibition.

V&A’s Exhibition Road Quarter

Now a new project aims to reinvigorate the exhibition space and connect the museum with its urban environment.

The new Exhibition Road Quarter has been designed by Stirling prize-winning architect Amanda Levete and her practice, AL_A. The project, which reaffirms the museum’s objective to bring art and design to all, has taken six years to realise.

From the evening of Friday 30 June 2017, visitors to London’s Victoria & Albert Museum will enter through a new colonnade formed from the original 1909 Aston Webb Screen.

This will take them through to the Sackler Courtyard, the world’s first porcelain public courtyard, paved in 11,000 handmade tiles.

Inside, the Blavatnik Hall provides a new entrance lobby with views over the museum’s beautiful John Madjeski Gardens.

Downstairs, the Sainsbury Gallery is an innovative exhibition space, which will now house the museum’s programme of temporary exhibitions.

Dr Tristram Hunt, director of the V&A, said the new Quarter was a ”21st re-imagining of Albertopolis”.

Hunt said: “With its mix of ingenuity and imagination, the V&A has always been a meeting point for historicism and modernity. The V&A Exhibition Road Quarter bridges the two by offering fresh insights into our historic building with pioneering new architecture, creating London’s leading exhibition space.”

The move comes ahead of the opening of a new V&A museum in Scotland’s Dundee in 2018.