A Tay-Side Plot

Originally published on disegnodaily.com

A large boat has emerged on the water’s edge in Dundee, its prow thrusting triumphantly into the River Tay. Or is it a cliff? Those jagged edges formed with concrete panels recall the soft cliffs of north-east Scotland. A cave, you say? OK, I suppose we could imagine it as a cave, beneath the cliff. A gate, even! Yes, right, it’s a gate! A fine homage to the city’s commemorative Royal Arch. A living room? Well, OK, I suppose it can be a living room as well…


This is the V&A Dundee, a project eight years in the making by Kengo Kuma, an architect who once argued “architectural forms should be quiet. A symbolic form can kill the environment.” In the case of the museum, Scotland’s first purpose-built design museum and the V&A’s second foray beyond south Kensington after the opening of the V&A gallery at the Design Society in Shenzhen last year, it seems this precept was either ignored or the decision was made to incorporate so many symbolic forms that they might cancel one another out. This mess of ideas – each one proposed by Kuma himself during the museum’s opening proceedings – translates into an unsurprisingly complex building, albeit one with moments of delight amongst the desultory…

Originally published on disegnodaily.com

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