Kengo Kuma & Associates plan for the V&A at Dundee to be a great civic space re-linking Dundee to the River Tay
The chosen location for the museum gives Kengo Kuma & Associates the opportunity, almost a necessity, of creating a system and a network of public spaces, each with a different and singular character, connecting the existing city centre of Dundee to the new cultural facility embodied by the V&A.
The museum itself with its large and open public hall will be part of the new system of public spaces, becoming a sort of covered public square where people can go and enjoy the warm feeling of this welcoming space, not only to visit the great exhibition of the Museum, but also just for shopping at the museum store, for going to dinner at the restaurant or for having a drink at the café, similarly to what happens in any successful lively public square. This will generate a strong integration between outside and inside the museum, creating an offer which will be directed not only to all the visitors the museum will attract form outside Dundee, but also to Dundee's citizens, who will be able to appreciate the museum spaces as a true new piece of their city and will be invited to inhabit it as such.
The relationship of the museum building with the exterior spaces creates an even stronger physical integration: where the "museum plaza" meets the building, its floor transforms into a wooden deck which literally intersects the museum in the middle and then organically reconnects to the existing waterfront on the east side of it.
The main hall is a welcoming and warm social space suitable for different flexible uses such as concerts, art workshop, installation and exhibition of big scale art pieces, and other events. A large staircase along the hall façade, entirely open toward the full height space, connects to the exhibition spaces on the upper level of the building where the Scotland National Design centre, will host semi-permanent international and Scottish design collections, the 1,200 sqm gallery will be the biggest exhibition gallery in Scotland.
The DIA centre located above the main entrance and facing the main hall, will include a practitioner hall with its double height on the mezzanine, this will be visible to the visitors from a privileged point of view, without interfering and disturbing the designers at work. The museum also includes a café with a terrace looking over the Tay and a restaurant suspended over the river on the front of the museum, which will have a spectacular view of the river.