Plans to create two interconnected sites in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park – a brand-new museum at Stratford Waterfront, and a new collection and research centre at Here East have been unveiled by the V&A Museum today.
Scheduled to open in 2023 as part of East Bank, a £1.1bn centre for culture, education, innovation as part of the Olympic legacy, V&A East will provide a purpose-built home for 250,000 objects and an additional 917 archives spanning the breadth of the V&A’s collection
The five-storey museum will also host a unique and unprecedented partnership between the V&A and the Smithsonian Institution – ‘the largest museum and research complex in the world’, which will provide an exhibition programme and a jointly-curated gallery at the Waterfront.
At Here East, the new collection and research centre – with a design led by New York-based practice Diller Scofidio + Renfro (supported by Austin-Smith:Lord) – will, the museum says, ‘reinvent the idea of a museum store’. Visitors will have the opportunity to go on behind-the-scenes journeys that uncover and demonstrate how and why objects are collected, how they are cared for, conserved, researched and displayed, and how they help make sense of our past, present and future.
“V&A East is timely and ambitious,” said V&A Deputy Director and COO Tim Reeve. “It will – for the first time – illuminate the entire lifecycle of museum practice in a transformational experience for visitors. From the moment of an object’s acquisition, through its conservation, the research, enquiry and debate that follow, to its display as part of the story of an exhibition, this 360-degree view is unprecedented and will revolutionise how people experience, and are inspired by, our collection.
The V&A recently opened a new museum in Scotland, V&A Dundee and last year was a partner in the opening of a new design museum in Shenzhen, China. “We are continuing to open up the vast collection that the V&A holds on the nation’s behalf. We hope that V&A East becomes a place that sparks the imagination and provides creative opportunity for generations to come.”
The collection and research centre will bring treasures out of storage and into public view for the first time in generations and is being designed by Dublin-based architects O’Donnell + Tuomey. A central public collection hall will turn the store inside out, the museum says, with a rich array of objects on rotating display for visitors to explore – from some of the V&A’s smallest curiosities to the largest and most significant rooms and building fragments in the collection.
There will also be a dedicated viewing gallery to showcase a changing display of rarely-seen large rolled objects and three outdoor terraces will give spectacular views across the Park.