The end of June saw the momentous occasion of a new public space in London being opened in by the Duchess of Cambridge. The Victoria and Albert museum opened its (newly created) doors to its gleaming £55m extension. The new extension is to house one of the largest temporary exhibition spaces in the country and has created a new entrance through the previously closed off Exhibition Road.
The architects for the project, AL_A (Amanda Levete) have on numerous occasions been quoted stating the importance, not just of the new building but in creating a new public space that connects the museum to the street. Creating this link between the museum and the street was more to encourage anyone and everyone to come and enjoy the museum, and to also allow the exhibitions and art to spill out onto the street. The link from the museum to the public space appears not to be just a physical one, but also a source of inspiration. The courtyard will be the first in the country to be tiled in porcelain (11,000 handmade tiles). This is clearly in response to the museums incredible ceramics collections, whilst also trying to complement the original fabric of the Grade 1 listed building.
Although this project was designed, run and completed by an architect not landscape architect, I am certain it was driven by same the passion for creating meaningful and innovative public space that we all share.
Both the V&A and AL_A have lots of information on their respective websites, including a fascinating time-lapse of the construction site.