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Deyan Sudjic: ‘We had to make sure we got the right deal’

Design Museum director Deyan Sudjic said the protracted sale to Zaha Hadid unlocked ‘maximum value’ for the Thameside plot in London

The Pritzker Prize-winner was officially announced owner of the Design Museum’s soon-to-be-vacated Shad Thames home today (9 July) more than a year after being named frontrunner for the sale.

Sudjic said the delay was caused by ongoing negotiations to secure the ‘best price’ for the lease.

He said: ‘We were lucky enough for the Conran Foundation to give us the lease for the current building at maximum value as part of our [relocation] fundraising so it has taken us quite a long time to get the maximum value.’

He added: ‘We put it on the market a year and half ago and had to make sure we got the right deal.’

Hadid outbid a ‘range of institutions’ to purchase the building on a long-lease, according to the director, who said the deal meant he was now ‘almost all of the way there’ towards meeting the £45 million fundraising target for the museum’s new west London home

Sudjic declined to reveal how much money changed hands, although it is understood to be more than £10 million. He said: ‘We got maximum value for its existing use. It’s not being sold as a development site.’

Hadid has purchased the gallery as part of plans to consolidate her archive and create a showcase for art, design and architecture collaborations. The high-profile designer will take over the building in 2015 when the Design Museum relocates to the former Commonwealth Institute in Kensington.

The museum director said he believed Hadid had ‘no intention’ to drastically redevelop the iconic structure, adding: ‘We were not planning to sell it to a glue factory or a casino. Its value depends on its existing use and [there is an] understanding purchaser would work with existing use as a cultural building.’

He added: ‘We are very happy with the purchaser. It’s a great deal for the museum, it’s a great deal for Southwark and it’s a great deal for Zaha.’

The John Pawson-designed fit out of the Commonwealth Institute is expected to start next Spring and complete by 2015.








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