After months of frustrating driving in the city centre, the roads congested with changing traffic lights, lanes, traffic cones, fences and workers, the long-anticipated construction of the Victoria and Albert Museum has finally begun. Originally budgeted at £45 million, the long-delayed project, initially meant to open in 2014, but now predicted for summer 2018, is now estimated at £80 million, nearly doubling in price and threatening a repetition of the infamously over budgeted and long-deferred Edinburgh Trams fiasco.
Pull Quote: “predicted to bring hundreds of thousands of tourists into the city, investing millions of pounds back into the economy.”
£25 million of the budget for the museum is being paid for by the Scottish government, who according to Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop is still fully committed to seeing the project through. Also, tackling the raised budgets, Japanese Architect Kengo Kuma changed the location of his design, moving the building fully inland as opposed to the initial site which extended the prow over the River Tay. As well as keeping costs down, Kuma’s motivation for bringing the ship back to shore was to ‘strengthen the connection between the river and the city centre.’
An international centre for design, the V&A is the UK’s first design museum outside London, and already has teams of workers selecting items to display from the Victoria and Albert Museum in London’s collections, the majority of which will relate to Scotland's design history. But, Kuma’s winning design is just the first instalment in the city’s redevelopment of Dundee’s waterfront, set to cost £1 billion overall, but predicted to bring hundreds of thousands of tourists into the city, investing millions of pounds back into the economy, as well as generating up to 7,000 jobs through the project.
As well as the building of the V&A, the city’s waterfront will also include a new Railway Station and Hotel, central open green spaces, the construction of the Seabraes Bridge across the railway lines and the addition of Riverside Apartments.
Already awarded the UK’s first UNESCO City of Design, we can only hope that the V&A, the centrepiece of Dundee’s Waterfront redevelopment scheme, will bring the city more acclaim, bringing us even closer to winning Europe’s City of Culture as after seven years of planning construction has finally commenced.