Lanzarote's bilingual magazine

V&A Dundee

The first Victoria & Albert Museum of Art and Design outside London is the work of Kengo Kuma, and although it resembles Scottish cliffs, there is no shortage of Japanese nuances

The V&A Dundee is the first ever dedicated design museum in Scotland and the only other Victoria & Albert Museum anywhere in the world outside London. Designed by renowned Japanese architect Kengo Kuma & Associates in collaboration with the V&A and Dundee City Council, the museum boasts a total built area of 8,445m² and cost €1.11 million.
The museum comprises two inverted pyramid-shaped structures that rise majestically from the banks of the River Tay. The curved and straight sections of the facade intertwine 20m high, forming a graceful arch reminiscent of the Royal Arch built in 1844 to welcome Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.
The exterior facade of the V&A Dundee is layered with 2,429 precast concrete panels designed and laid in parallel using the latest 3D design tools. The effect gives an unexpected twist to the building’s form, creating a unique interplay of light and shadow, which changes depending on the time of day, season, and weather conditions.
The overall impression is that of two massive, stranded rocks. Their rugged and craggy surfaces evoke the dramatic cliffs of Scotland’s coastline. However, the laminated structure and the positioning of a shallow mirror and reflection pools bring to mind the tranquil aesthetic typically associated with Japanese gardens.
Massive marine formworks holding 12,500 tons of rock were constructed to create the foundation. This impressive base supports nearly 8,500 square metres of cultural and leisure space, encompassing communal areas, a learning centre, an auditorium, galleries for temporary exhibitions and the permanent Scottish Art Gallery, a restaurant with panoramic views and additional spaces. A café and gift shop greet visitors in the entrance hall, where the walls are clad in oak panelling that echoes the exterior design.
V&A Dundee has become more than just a museum since it opened in 2018. It has become an icon for the city and a symbol of its transformation. The museum is located on Dundee’s waterfront, once a hub of industry and home to one of the most important docks in the UK. In a nod to its illustrious past, the RRS Discovery, Captain Scott’s celebrated vessel used in the first exploration of Antarctica, is proudly docked in the quay in front of the museum.


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