Henry Cole Wing, V&A

Henry Cole Wing, V&A

Henry Cole was the first director of the South Kensington Museum (now the V&A). He was a driving force behind the Great Exhibition and the formation of many of the institutions still in the area today. The building is a truly monumental structure, with seven central bays flanked by corner pavilions and an open loggia on the top storey. It was occupied first by the School of Naval Architects, then by the Science School and finally by Imperial College. In 1978 the building was annexed by the V&A. In style it is a striking redbrick and terracotta building with an amalgam of playful Early Renaissance details, including putti in roundels and figures and foliage on the columns. The decorative techniques include moulded terracotta, mosaic and Minton majolica. Many of these were experimental, though they were based on historical precedent.