FuturePlan is an ambitious programme of development which is transforming the V&A. The best contemporary designers are creating exciting new galleries and visitor facilities, while revealing and restoring the beauty of the original building. In the past 15 years, over 85% of the Museum’s public spaces have been transformed, improving access and allowing the collections to be more elegantly and intelligently displayed. By introducing bold new architectural interventions, FuturePlan aims to delight and to inspire visitors, and to continue the Museum’s tradition of championing new talent.
Exhibition Road Building Project
The Exhibition Road Building Project will provide a grand new entrance to the Museum, a beautiful courtyard and a stunning purpose-built gallery for the Museum’s world-class temporary exhibitions. The project will showcase the best of contemporary design, as well as celebrating the beauty of the V&A’s existing structure.
The first ever ceramic tiled courtyard will act as a venue for installations and events and will be served by a glass-fronted cafe. Entry to the new courtyard will be through the arches of the 19th-century screen designed by Sir Aston Webb. Work on the main construction began in January 2014, and the new spaces are due to open to the public in 2017.
The V&A’s main shop is being transformed to provide a flexible and dynamic retail space, which will showcase the best design and host a range of events and demonstrations. Sitting at the heart of the Museum, the shop is intimately connected to the surrounding galleries. The new design will introduce a contemporary approach to retail that will facilitate closer dialogues between these spaces, and creative connections between our cultural and commercial activities.
The new shop is being designed by Friend and Company Architects, working with Rashid Ali Projects and Millimetre following a design competition held earlier in 2016. The designers will be working with the Museum to refine their plans over the rest of the year, with construction expected to complete in Spring 2017.
A new Members’ Room is being created within the V&A. With views over the new Exhibition Road Courtyard, the room will cater to the needs of the museums growing membership by providing a larger, more flexible and atmospheric space. The designers, architecture practice Carmody Groarke, were selected following a competition held in 2015.
Restoring a light-filled room, previously inaccessible to the public, Carmody Groarke’s approach provides a contemporary edge to enhance the Grade 1 listed character of the space, offering the perfect place for respite, relaxation and refreshment. With a variety of areas to entertain, study or unwind, Members can dine from a new and exclusive menu that both expands and elevates the offer found elsewhere on the South Kensington site.
Members will not only be able to enjoy exclusive access to the new Members’ Room, but the chance to take part in an exciting programme of events to be hosted in the space from late 2017.
The V&A has been collecting photographs since 1856, the year the Museum was founded, and it was one of the first museums to present photography exhibitions. Since then the collection has grown to be one of the largest and most important in the world, comprising around 500,000 images. The V&A is now honoured to be adding the Royal Photographic Society (RPS) collection to its holdings, which contains around 270,000 photographs, an extensive library, and 6,000 cameras and pieces of equipment associated with leading artists and photographic pioneers.
To maximise the impact of the expanded collection, the V&A is developing a new photography centre on the first floor of the historic North East Quarter of its South Kensington building. This will allow the Museum to display a far greater number and range of photographs, negatives, camera technology, books and archival items alongside its headline photography exhibitions and displays. The Photography Centre will also facilitate exciting activities, learning events and broader opportunities for visitors and resident practitioners to engage with photography.
Phase 1 of the project will create a purpose-built storage space for the combined collections and double our display space for photography in newly designed gallery and activity spaces. This is accompanied by an extensive digitization project and an initiative for UK-wide loans. Photographs not on display will be accessible to visitors through the Prints & Drawings Study Room. Phase 2 will fully realise complementary learning programmes, research initiatives, a browsing library and photographer’s studio.
The V&A's Cast Courts are two of the Museum's largest and dramatic spaces, housing important casts of works that date as far back as ancient Rome. Highlights include Trajan’s Column, the Pórtico de la Gloria from the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, and pieces by many of the most celebrated Italian Renaissance sculptors.
In 2014 the East Court reopened as the Weston Cast Court after a full refurbishment. Earlier this year we entered the second phase of the project, which will see the renewal of the West Court and Central Gallery to complete the refurbishment work, and ensure the Cast Courts remain the most important national and international centre for the enjoyment, understanding and study of plaster casts. This renovation will involve the revealing of the original floor, reinstatement of the wall colours and a new roof over the court. Most excitingly, Trajan’s column will be opened up for the public to see inside. The Central Gallery will house a new display on the history of the courts and the process of casting.
V&A East will be part of the new educational and cultural district taking shape at Stratford Waterfront in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, East London. The seven-storey building will be a brand new space for people to gather to understand, interrogate and explore the designed world. It will use the V&A’s collections and expertise to provide fast, enlightening responses to current affairs, and will be a place to encounter objects in new ways; to play, make, debate and take part as well as look, think, relax and be entertained.
How You Can Support Futureplan
FuturePlan is transforming the V&A. Through this programme of renewal we have revitalised the displays, researched and conserved the collections, clarified the layout and restored much of the building's original grand architecture.
FuturePlan is almost entirely funded by private donations and is succeeding thanks to the extraordinary commitment of our supporters. If you would like to get involved, please contact the Development department. We would be delighted to discuss how you can help FuturePlan restore and redesign the V&A.
We are currently working to secure funds for:
- A new exhibition space, public courtyard and entrance on Exhibition Road designed by Amanda Levete Architects (AL_A)
- The second phase of the Cast Courts project, which will see the refurbishment of the West Cast Court and Central Gallery, following the successful renovation of the Weston Cast Court in phase one.
We are also seeking funding to support the other activities that make the V&A a world-class centre of excellence and learning in art and design. You can support our programmes that relate to education, acquisitions, conservation and research.
Find out the latest news from the wide range of FuturePlan projects being carried out around the V&A by architects, designers and leading Museum experts.