A Living Room for the City

12 September by Spencer Cooney


The Dundee V&A will open this weekend, the first V&A outside London and a celebration of the history of design and industry within the city.

V&A Dundee has been designed by the award-wining Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, who is also designing the stadium for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Kuma’s vision for V&A Dundee is that it will be a welcoming space for everyone to visit, enjoy and socialise in – a 'living room for the city' – and a way of reconnecting the city to its historic River Tay waterfront.

Curving concrete walls (there are no straight external walls) hold 2,500 pre-cast rough stone panels, weighing up to 3000 kg each and spanning up to 4m wide, to create the appearance of a Scottish cliff face. Therese is a gallery space of 1,650m² and the building has been built to a low carbon / renewable energy spec.

As part of the build’s BREEAM obligation to identify the most appropriate form of renewable energy for the building, geothermal technology has been installed. 

Thirty 200-metre deep bore holes form part of the geothermal energy system, which heat and cool the building, supplemented by air source heat pumps on the roof. These provide direct renewable energy for the museum, with 800,000 kWh/annum of heating and 500,000 kWh/annum of cooling.

Construction of the building was led by Dundee City Council, with project management from Turner & Townsend. The total cost of design, construction and fit-out is £80.11m.

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