Development of the contemporary gallery, 2002-09
The opening of the contemporary gallery
In 2002 the V&A opened a gallery for contemporary exhibitions. This simple, flexible space was designed by Gareth Hoskins Architects and provided a neutral, functional venue for contemporary programmes and events, demonstrating the V&A's commitment to contemporary visual culture.
The gallery was designed to act as a testing ground for new ideas and new methods of presenting the Victoria and Albert Museum's collections.
Exhibitions included Brilliant (2004), Black British Style (2004), Touch Me (2005) and Che Guevara (2006).
The Porter Gallery
In 2006 a substantial gift from The Porter Foundation supported the creation of a new space for contemporary exhibitions, the Porter Gallery. The original contemporary gallery closed in 2007. The space it occupied reopened in 2009 as part of the Medieval and Renaissance galleries.
The new gallery was situated next to the V&A's Grand Entrance and separated from it by dramatic seven-metre-high rotating entrance doors clad in black carbon fibre - a product normally used in aircraft manufacture. The gallery itself had an innovative structure that sat inside the original 1909 Aston Webb envelope, creating a space that was contemporary but also paid respect to the original building. The roof of the new gallery was suspended from the original ceiling by 3366 individual steel wires, allowing visitors to see the original arches of the gallery from the first floor of the museum.
The gallery was designed by Block Architecture. Set up in 1998 by partners Graeme Williamson and Zoe Smith, Block have produced award-winning work across arts, commercial, residential and education sectors, with projects in London, Tokyo, New York and Stockholm. The practice was shortlisted for the design panel of the Athletes Village at the London 2012 Olympics.
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.