V&A tender: Museum design team for main entrance makeover

The Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) has issued a tender searching for a design team for a £2.25 million overhaul of its iconic rotunda entrance on Cromwell Road.

The main entrance upgrade will involve the creation of an ‘outstanding visitor experience’ while also focusing on design excellence and accessibility, says a report in The Architects’ Journal (AJ).

Shortlisted teams will each receive a £1,000 honorarium. Bids will be evaluated on a 70/30 split – 70 per cent on quality and 30 per cent on cost.

The winner of the £225,000 contract will be asked to draw up plans for a phased transformation of the Grade I-listed V&A’s main entrance rotunda. Just last year the museum, in London’s South Kensington, opened a new entrance fronting Exhibition Road. The £48 million project was created by AL_A.

The first phase of the new entrance project will involve a redesign of the entrance’s glass doors and security checking area, set to be completed by February 2019. The second phase, set to be completed in 2020, will upgrade the entrance desk, cloakroom, and toilets.

Tender seeks the “best contempory designers”

The tender describes the Cromwell Road entrance as an ‘iconic space’ which has “acted as a welcome and hub for visitors for over 100 years, not only as a point of orientation and visit planning, but as a centre for events of all types.”

The museum is inviting design teams, consisting of designers/architects and user experience designers to “provide design services for the refurbishment of the Cromwell Road entrance.”

The museum says that, “Regular large-scale installations – and the long-term loan of the Chihuly chandelier – have made this a key site for the museum’s public programme. Our aim is to harness the potential of the impressive dome area while creating a space in which visitors feel at ease, are motivated to explore the museum further and are provided with everything they need to make the most of all the V&A has to offer.”

Founded in 1852, the V&A is the world’s largest museum dedicated to design and the decorative arts. It has over 2.3 million objects in its collection.

V&A FuturePlan

The main entrance upgrade project is the latest from the museum’s FuturePlan renewal programme. The programme seeks to harness the skills of ‘best contemporary designers’ to improve the experience for visitors inside the Aston Webb-designed landmark.

A £1 million shop was recently completed by Friend and Company alongside a new members’ room designed by Carmody Groarke, under FuturePlan.

The V&A is also expanding outside its original site. The museum recently announced its plans for the new V&A East development to be set in Queen Elizabeth Park. V&A East will host a £25 million collections centre, to be designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro.

The deadline for applications is 5pm, 3rd August 2018.  Full details here.

Image: DAVID ILIFF. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0  By Diliff 

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