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RIBA reveals new V&A architecture centre plans


The riba and the Victoria & Albert Museum are in talks to build a high profile national study centre for architecture in South Kensington.

The plan emerged last week when riba officials revealed the institute has called on the v&a to include 'a better and more public' building for an architecture centre in its future building plans.

The new project would expand on the existing collaboration between the two organisations.

Architect Wright & Wright has already been appointed to design a £5 million extension to the museum's Henry Cole Wing to house architectural drawings from both riba and the v&a. But now the requirement for a more high profile location has been included in the museum's masterplan.

'The V&A masterplan could trigger an even better gallery location than the one we're currently working on,' said library vice president Clare Frankl.

The Henry Cole Wing Extension is planned to hold riba's drawings collection as well as offices for staff. The drawings collection is currently held at a building at Portman Square, on which the lease expires at the end of 2002. But riba headquarters at Portland Place also houses an extensive photographic archive and a books, periodicals and manuscripts collection.

riba now wants to give greater public exposure to these materials in assocation with the v&a and Frankl added that joint publications, merchandising and travelling exhibitions with the v&a were also possibilities on top of a larger exhibition and library building.

riba believes that its vast collections could attract much greater interest if better presented. 'When we position the resources we have in the right place they have huge appeal,' said Frankl.

The existing Wright & Wright plans are going ahead despite the greater ambition emerging at riba, but this project faces delays and its application for £3 million in Heritage Lottery funding is already three months late, having been postponed from December. It is now due in May.

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