Thursday, 4 November 2010

The Result Is In



It may not have won the people's vote but the design by one of Japan's leading architects is the unanimous winner of an international competition for a building to house a branch of the Victoria and Albert Museum in Dundee.

The design panel claim the building has the potential to become one of the top dozen iconic structures in the world and they are convinced that the 'exciting and dynamic' £45 million building will have the same impact on Dundee as Frank Gehry's Guggenheim Museum had on Bilbao.

What is disappointing is that Dundee University is reputed to offer one of the best architecture courses in the UK, yet we don't seem to find homegrown architects to design modern buildings. Do they emigrate once they graduate I wonder.

Somehow I feel the design panel's conviction that millions of foreign tourists will be descending on Dundee to glimpse this dod of stone and glass, balancing on the waterfront, is just a dream. The city deserves a boost like this because, since the heart of it was torn out in the 60s to make way for the road bridge, it had never really recovered its vibrancy.

Once the building is complete and stocked with the the delights the London Victoria and Albert offer, I will be in the queue to pay my, possibly exorbitant, entrance fee. It certainly be the talk of the Dundee tearooms for a long time to come.

One final point. Whoever is managing the project must ensure it doesn't become a fiasco like the Scottish Parliament or the continuing farce of a tramline in Edinburgh.

21 comments:

JRB said...

I saw an image of this building taken from the side in silhouette – it had all the characteristic lines of a Chinese junk.

I hope for Dundee’s sake it does not turn into a heap of junk.

subrosa said...

Morning John. Considering Dundee is the only city I know that knocked down its centre in order to build access roads for a road bridge, nothing will surprise me.

None of the designs impressed me. I would have liked to have seen one which was sympathetic to being at the mouth of an estuary.

I wonder how this building will age. Mind you I won't be around to see it.

Elby the Beserk said...

Tramline farce. Bristol, where I lived for 25 years, was the first town in the Uk to apply for funding to reinstate trams. This was in the mid-70s. They have been repeatedly turned down for this. Traffic in Bristol is beyond hell these days.

Also, in the 90s, they applied for money to redevelop the harbourside; a building such has been approved in Dundee was turned down, as was all the associated funding applied for. Some redevelopment has taken place, but nothing excites, and it is mostly flats.

It's odd, really, as Bristol has been Labour since the dawn of time (very rare in the South West, and almost certainly a reflection of it's large immigrant population), but never benefited from the money that Labour seem happy to splurge elsewhere.

Smoking Hot said...

To me it looks like a shipwreck. l note that the commitee 'viewed' previous work of the applicants. One hopes it was by the internet ... surely they wouldn't travel all over the world?

So Kengo Kuma has a clear understanding of the city? :)

RMcGeddon said...

It does look a bit odd SR.
I saw a tv report on it and Mike Galloway 'Director of Planning and Transportation ' at Dundee City Council said it would cost £45 million in total ( £22m for the building and £23m to prepare the site etc). It would start in 2012 and finish in 2014.
Hopefully he believes this and it all goes ok but with Scotland's record on building projects I doubt it.
He said that the waterfront in Dundee had long been an 'embarrassment' so he couldn't have been involved in the Apex Hotel, Tayside House, Office blocks or flats complexes etc that block the views of the waterfront for Dundonians.
He must have just got the job recently.
And of course he'll hopefully be against the proposed biomass smokestack and windmills that are planned along from the new V & A building.

Derek Bennett EU-Sceptic said...

Architects are a bunch of self opinionated twits who never listen to, or show any concern, for the people they inflict their monstrous structures on. This lump of a whatever it is supposed to be is vile and will be a blot on the landscape. If she were alive today I am sure Queen Victoria would not be amused.

subrosa said...

Strange you should say that Elby but Dundee council was Labour all my life until the last election. So the SNP council have moved on this at least - even although the design isn't my taste.

I know Bristol reasonably well and it's harbour is more or less like it was in the 70s.

No, labour won't spend money in their strongholds. Labour destroyed Dundee by knocking down the Victorian part of the city to create access roads for the road bridge. If these buildings had been preserved it certainly would be a city to visit these days.

It will be interesting to see how well this building sits alongside the Discovery which has been renovated and sits proudly at the waterfront.

subrosa said...

SH,I doubt if Kengo Kuma ever set foot in Dundee. He may never do. The architect for the Scottish Parliament ran it from Spain before his death, then his wife took over doing it in the same manner.

subrosa said...

All Director's of Planning have said they've wonderful plans for the waterfront RM. In fact, I think the Courier's got drawings in its archives dating back well before my birth.

The V & A will be the driving force behind this project I should think and hopefully their involvement will keep it to time and cost.

As to your last paragraph, I trust that was typed tongue in cheek. :)

subrosa said...

Well Derek, it will certainly be a talking point if nothing else.

Joe Public said...

What with Global Warming & rising Sea Levels, it reminds me of Noah's Ark.

And on the waterfront, it's ideally located to just 'drift-away' on the next high tide.

subrosa said...

This comment is from:

Crinkly & Ragged Arsed Philosophers has left a new comment on your post "Heaven and Earth":

(He wrote it against another post in error).

Of all the plans its the one I disliked least.

But, and it's a big BUT, at £23 mil for site works - piles etc, and £22 for the buildings with around 6,000 sqm of floor space they have already matched the projects budgeted figure.

Personally I think they're covering their ar---s by overpricing the site works to create the commitment and cover their profits in preparation for overruns on the building.

£400 per sq meter may seem a lot for a building but for one as unique,irregular and complex as this it can, at best be viewed as a guesstimate.

Parliaments and Edinburgh trams anyone? In the latter case £500 million for two steel strips from nowhere to nowhere?

Hopefully in this case I'll be proved wrong, but my gut rumblings is that Dundee is about to get its iconic rip off.

subrosa said...

Aye, I wonder if any of the Kengo Kuma staff visited during a windy January Joe. Doubt it.

subrosa said...

Oh RA, let's hope not. Surely with the V & A having input they will keep a steady hand on the tiller. After all, they're the reason for it.

Guesstimate won't be far off the mark. I couldn't find any detail of the brief before I had my wee visit.

All Seeing Eye said...

I love iconic, groundbreaking, revolutionary, striking and innovative designs like this.

...in somebody else's town to visit or see pictures of.

In mine? Not so much.

Joe Public said...

Now the building design has been selected, are you going to open that 'book' on cost overrun?

I'll pitch in at +33%; how about you?

Open to all readers - make your prediction here.

All Seeing Eye said...

Good idea Joe. I'm in for double the estimate. 100%

subrosa said...

Now I could see it balancing on your rock ASE. :)

subrosa said...

Will I do a wee poll Joe? I'm with ASE at 100%.

Crinkly & Ragged Arsed Philosophers said...

I'll take the 100% and cover the 33%.

subrosa said...

Oh so the stakes go higher RA. :)

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