Cleaning the Exhibition Road façades, 2010
In 2010, the beautiful 1909 Aston Webb stone façade and the 1874 terracotta and brick façade of the Henry Cole Wing were cleaned, conserved and repaired to their former glory.
Working with building restoration and conservation specialist, DRB (London) Ltd. and other internal and external conservation specialists, the V&A carried out a 10 month programme, in consultation with the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, to clean its façades stretching 84 metres along Exhibition Road.
The Aston Webb façade was cleaned using a high-power water jet. Built in 1909, the stone façade is decorated with a wealth of sculptural ornament, including statues depicting ten English craftsmen – St Dunstan, William Torel, William Caxton, George Heriot, Huntington Shaw, Thomas Tompion, Thomas Chippendale, Josiah Wedgwood, Roger Payne and William Morris.
The delicate terracotta surface and ornament of the Henry Cole Wing were chemically cleaned using low concentrates of alkaline and acid. The terracotta and red brick façade was completed in 1874 and was then the tallest building in South Kensington. It reaches four stories high and is 160 feet (49 metres) in length. Being such a conspicuous site it was designed to be a showpiece. The decorative scheme, overseen by Frank Moody, features a round-headed colonnade on the ground floor decorated with blue, white and yellow tile panels and, at the top of the building, an open arcaded balcony.
The project was funded by generous donations from a number of supporters including The Wolfson Foundation, The Zochonis Charitable Trust and The Basil Samuel Charitable Trust.
This development was completed as part of FuturePlan
FuturePlan is transforming the V&A by revitalising visitor facilities and redisplaying the collections. Using the best architects and designers, we are bringing the V&A into the 21st century and restoring modern design and innovation to the heart of the museum.