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AL_A creates world’s first porcelain courtyard for Sackler Gallery at V&A - set to open on June 30

United Kingdom - May 19, 2017 - 21:20   4685 views

Amanda Levete's firm AL_A is getting ready for the completion of the Sackler Courtyard at the V&A, creating a smooth transition between the street and the museum's new public courtyard. The Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A)'s new Exhibition Road Quarter will officially be opening to the visitors on June 30, 2017 with week-long festival, celebrating the Museum’s new architecture, heritage and history. 

A weeklong public festival will be running from 30 June to 7 July 2017 with art and design commissions, performances, fashion, family activities and collaborations with neighbouring Albertopolis institutions, celebrating the opening of the V&A’s Exhibition Road Quarter.

"The completion of the V&A’s Exhibition Road Quarter is a hugely exciting moment for the V&A. Our largest architectural intervention for 100 years revives the pioneering spirit of Albertopolis, reconnecting us to Exhibition Road and our world-class cultural partners. I am delighted to announce 30 June as the public opening of London's latest cultural landmark," said Tristram Hunt, Director of the V&A.

"That week we also launch our exciting REVEAL festival, which will celebrate this stunning fusion of history and modernity, art and performance, tradition and innovation - as only the V&A can," Hunt added.

The Stirling Prize-winning British architect Amanda Levete's Exhibition Road Quarter will be the Museum’s largest architectural intervention in the last 100 years. Levete's triggering, innovative and ambitious design will create beautiful new public areas and gallery spaces for London, transforming the experience of the V&A for visitors, and revealing historic facades of the V&A’s existing Grade I buildings for the first time.

In this major development, the architect used 14,500 porcelain tiles for this intensive groundwork, creating the world’s first porcelain courtyard at the garden of V&A. Besides that, the new 1,100 square-metre column-free exhibition gallery beneath the courtyard will be one of the largest temporary exhibition galleries in the UK and known as the Sainsbury Gallery in recognition of the joint gifts from The Monument Trust and The Headley Trust. 

The Sackler Courtyard, a new 1,100 metre-square metre public space, will be so named in recognition of the generous grant awarded by The Dr Mortimer and Theresa Sackler Foundation, noted by the V&A.

"Each of the rhombus-shaped tiles, currently being created in 13 different patterns in the Royal Tichelaar factory in Holland, took five days to make from
pouring to glazing and are crafted by hand, reflecting the project’s dedication to quality, innovation and craftsmanship," stated the V&A.

Tranforming a total of 6,360 square-metre area, visitors will be able to enter the V&A Exhibition Road Quarter through the arches of the renovated 1909 Aston Webb screen, opening up the Museum to its neighbours on Exhibition Road. 

The Sainsbury Gallery, The Sackler Courtyard and The Blavatnik Hall are the newly-designed spaces at the V&A, which will welcome visitors with its high-innovative intervention and new spatial experience.

"This will all be set within the beautiful historical facades on the west side of the V&A’s Grade I listed architecture which have never before been on public view. Visitor numbers to the V&A in South Kensington have grown in the last decade from 1 million to 3.46 million in 2015/16, the highest number on record, and this development will allow the Museum to continue offering an excellent visitor experience," added the V&A.

Named REVEAL Festival, the V&A will be presenting a series of events including Friday Late (June 30) –  the first and original Friday Late programme in London, Simon Heijdens's immersive experience of augmented natural light, Yoko Ono’s 'Dance Pieces from her seminal collection of ‘instructional poems’ ACORN,  

Fashion in Motion – British fashion designer Molly Goddard is the subject of the V&A’s Fashion in Motion, which brings catwalk shows by leading international designers to the Museum. Family events – throughout the week, families will be invited to explore the Museum with a series of trails, online games, performances and activities.

DesignLab (July 6) – The V&A’s DesignLab series, aims to inspire a new generation of creative practitioners through promoting knowledge and skills across art, design and performance and The Royal College of Music will be presenting live concerts in the Museum, including a new work by student composer David Evans, titled 'Street Scenes.'

AL_A won an international competition in 2011 to design this major development for the V&A. Wates are the lead contractors delivering the project and Arup are the structural engineers for the project. 

All images © AL_A, courtesy of the V&A

> via V&A / AL_A