New vista of V and ASource: Amanda Levete Architects
Aston Webb screen ‘cannot sustain’ proposed changes by architect
Amanda Levete’s £41 million plans to “dramatically alter” the courtyard screen at the Victoria & Albert Museum have been condemned by heritage campaigners.
The Victorian Society has written to the V&A urging it to retain the integrity of the original design by Victorian architect Aston Webb.
“The screen survived the Blitz,” said James Hughes, conservation adviser for the society. “Now its own custodian - the V&A - is about to cause it greater harm. Visually the screen cannot sustain that degree of alteration.
“There is no compelling practical need for punching through all of the openings. The museum has not proved that just removing half of them, rather than every one, would not work as well. The present proposal is the least satisfactory.”
Amanda Levete Architects was appointed by the museum last year to create underground galleries and a new entrance on Exhibition Road.
The practice beat six other proposals, including designs by Heneghan Peng, Snøhetta and Jamie Fobert.
Its scheme was approved by planners earlier this month.
Writing in the Evening Standard this week on the subject of risk, museum director Martin Roth said they would be attempting to use a “yet-to-be-made” type of ceramic tile in the construction of “our grand new entrance”.
“Amanda Levete has created an amazing space that will incorporate cutting-edge ceramic technology, an industry with a very important history in the UK,.” he said.
“By taking this risk we are trying to support and promote the creativity of those in the ceramics industry in the UK.”
The Victorian Society said it accepted the principle behind the change but expressed “deep dissatisfaction” at the detail of the execution.
In a statement the V&A defended the AL_A alterations as a “vital and necessary element of the design”.
“It will result in a beneficial relationship between the cultural hub of Exhibition Road and the heart of the V&A as well as creating a new publicly accessible space and enabling appreciation of the historic façades within the courtyard for the first time,” it said.
The museum appointed historic building specialists Giles Quarme & Associates to work with Levete and said the majority of the war-damaged stone on the rest of the west façade would be retained.
4 September 2012
30 August 2012
24 August 2012
10 August 2012
9 August 2012
11 July 2012
11 June 2012
28 March 2011
2 March 2011