V&A Design Museum Construction Photos

Here are a few construction photos of V&A Design Museum in Dundee.

Japanese architecture Kengo Kuma designed the V&A Design Museum. He also designed the 2020 Olympic stadium in Tokyo.

The museum was built on the site of the Olympia swimming pool.

The V&A Dundee has a rather unconventional design, so its final cost was £80.1 million.

These are just a few of my photographs taken during its construction.

Japanese architecture Kengo Kuma designed the V&A Design Museum. He also designed the 2020 Olympic stadium in Tokyo.

The museum was built on the site of the Olympia swimming pool.

The V&A Dundee has a rather unconventional design, so its final cost was £80.1 million.

These are just a few of my photographs taken during its construction.

Dundee Waterfront August 2006 viewed from Tay Road Bridge. From L-R Old Premier Inn, Discovery Quay, RRS Discovery, Olympia Swimming Pool, Hilton Hotel and Dundee House (council office building)

Dundee waterfront looked different in 2011. The Premier Inn was smaller, and the Malmaison Hotel was still the abandoned Tay Hotel. Dundee Railway station was a white box-like building. Discovery Quay and the RRS Discovery look the same, but Tayside House dominated the waterfront. The Olympia Swimming pool occupied the site of the V&A.

By November 2013, Dundee House (office building) and Hilton Hotel have been demolished, but the Olympia Swimming pool remains.

By February 2014, workers have demolished the Olympia Swimming pool.

V and A Design Museum August 2015

My first photo of the construction site, from April 2015, BAM started work, building the cofferdam and erecting cranes. Office workers at Thorntons had great views of the site and across the River Tay.

V&A Design Museum cranes

The construction site at dawn. The central stairwell core is visible in front of the mast of the RRS Discovery.

V&A Design Museum scaffolding

November 2016, the V&A Design museum has 21 wall sections, and none of them is vertical. Workers constructed an elaborate formwork, a giant temporary mould for the concrete shell of the building. The staff entrance is in the centre of the photo. Look out for construction workers on the left side of the image to show the scale.

V&A Design Museum concrete

April 2017, Worker removed all of the formwork, which was a giant temporary mould for the concrete shell of the building. This revealed the bare concrete exterior of the building. In this photo, you can see the delivery entrance near the centre of the image and the visitor entrance on the right. It is easy to spot the numerous small windows that were later hidden by the exterior cladding.

V&A Design Museum cofferdam

Workers built a cofferdam as the museum protrudes over the River Tay. The cofferdam was a temporary watertight structure filled with 12,500 tonnes of stone. Work started fitting the exterior cladding to the building.

V and A design museum cladding

It took months to fit 2,466 pre-cast rough stone panels to the curving walls of the museum. The panels varied in size up to 3,000 kg and 4 metres wide and had a combined weight of 780 Tonnes. Scottish cliff faces inspired architecture Kengo Kuma to create this design.

V and A design museum cofferdam

During the summer of 2017, work began to remove the cofferdam, a slow process. Long reach excavators scooped up the gravel and loaded it onto trucks. Then they removed the metal exterior.

V and A design museum cofferdam

By 2017 the cofferdam needed to be dismantled. Two Longreach excavators started in the middle and then worked away from each other. By September 2017, they had removed most of the cofferdam. This side of the museum had all its exterior cladding fitted. I took this photo from the other side of the River Tay in Fife.

V and A design museum cladding

By October 2017, nearly all of the 2,500 panels were in place. This corner near the staff entrance was the last to be completed.

V&A Design Museum snow

During a cold snap in January 2018, the water in the reflecting pool froze. A light dusting of snow covered the ice. They had finished the exterior of the museum, but there was no signage. You had to take any photos through or above a set of barriers. During 2018 numerous holes mysteriously appeared in these barriers.

The illuminated museum reflected in the River Tay on a calm night. This 150-second exposure also captured the lights of a train crossing the Tay Rail Bridge in the background.

In early June 2018, Norsign installed the exterior signage. A floating V&A logo and the totem information panels.

For a few days, the iconic floating logo was blue. They had wrapped the sign in blue protective plastic.

Later in June, the hanging banners were installed displaying the opening date 15th of September 2018.

V and A Design Museum reflected

One of the best images I took whilst the barriers were up, taken on a very calm evening. It wasn’t easy to photograph the building at night, as there were strong lights behind you. These lights caused long shadows.

The opening ceremony featured a light show on the exterior of the building, followed by a concert in Slessor Gardens.

They closed the roads around Slessor Gardens that caused traffic chaos with long queues on the Tay Road Bridge. Weatherproof lights surrounded the museum.

Part of the light show from the Tay Road Bridge. I was taking photos at another event in the city centre but was fortunate to get to this viewpoint past numerous closed streets in time for the show.

When the museum first opened, there were often long queues outside. This photo was taken on a Monday lunchtime over a week after it opened.

With the barriers finally down, we could take photographs where ever we wanted.

The iconic sign reflected, with the RRS Discovery at blue hour.

Long exposure of traffic on the Tay Road Bridge, viewed through the arch at blue hour.

V&A Design Museum moonlight

Moon and Tay Road Bridge, viewed through the archway at night.

A video of the long reach excavators removing the cofferdam.

You can view more Dundee architectural photography here

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