Oligarch’s gift brings V&A opening near

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The Victoria & Albert Museum’s £49.5m Exhibition Road development has ben brought closer to opening by a major gift from the Blavatnik Family Foundation, created by the Russian oligarch Leonard Blavatnik reputed to be Britain’s richest man, that will see the new entrance hall and building given their name.


The new building and entrance, designed by AL_A led by Amanda Levete, will open next year, with 95% of the costs now raised. A new entrance is being created through the neo-classical Aston Webb Screen on Exhibition Road, with an open public courtyard and temporary exhibition galleries beneath, one of the largest in Britain and the V&A’s biggest single development in over a century.

V&A director Martin Roth said the new development would “transform the experience of the V&A for our visitors, create further connection with our neighbouring museums and enable us to present more of our collection of art and design as well as international design exhibitions in spectacular new gallery space. AL_A’s project will encompass everything the V&A embodies; ambition, enriching and intelligent design and creative inspiration”. 

More detail has also been revealed of V&A East, the museum’s branch due to open in the Olympic legacy estate in 2020/21. The new seven storey building, designed by O’Donnell Twomey, will house exhibition space, conservation studios, spaces for residencies an de-research as well as areas for public entertainment and debate. It will be party of a new cultural quarter, under a masterplan by Allies & Morrison, alongside new structures for Sadler’s Wells, the University of the Arts London and University College London in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Stratford East.


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