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Costs balloon on Kengo Kuma's V&A Dundee outpost

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Kengo Kuma and Associates’ proposed V&A museum Dundee is to cost an extra £31million and open three years later than first predicted

According to Dundee City Council, the budget for the competition-winning waterfront scheme has risen from £49million to £80.1million and the ambitious museum project is not expected to open its doors to the public until 2018.

The scheme was originally forecast to cost £45million and was designed by the famous Japanese practice to sit in the River Tay south of Craig Harbour. However the scheme was moved further inland in late 2012 to give the development team ‘greater certainty with regards to the building schedule’.

Now it has been revealed that the authority is being asked to rubberstamp a new ‘funding strategy to enable construction to proceed’ following the outcome of a tendering process with preferred main contractor BAM Construction.

The council has also warned that if building work does not start in March this year ‘the construction contract will be delayed by at least a further six months with consequent impacts on the museum’s opening date and on inflation to the construction costs.’

To plug the funding gap, the authority wants the Scottish Government to increase its existing financial commitment from £15million to £22.61 million. It also hopes to net an extra £6.6million through private fundraising with a further £4.5million sought from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Councillor Ken Guild, Dundee City Council’s leader of the administration and convener of policy and resources, insisted the scheme would go ahead. He describing the latet report outlining the fixed price tender and the proposed funding arrangement as a ‘crucial development in the aspirational project to provide Dundee and Scotland with a world-class museum’.

The AJ predicted back in December 2010 that Kengo Kuma’s original scheme would not be brought in within budget without a rethink.

The Japanese architect, who is working with Scotland’s cre8architecture and Arup, was selected unanimously from an impressive six-strong shortlist to land the contest in November 2010.

The losing finalists included Steven Holl Architects with JM Architects, Viennese practice Delugan Meissl Associated Architects, New York-based REX with Urban Splash, Snøhetta with Gareth Hoskins Architects and a team led by Sutherland Hussey Architects in collaboration with 3DReid, AECOM and Gross.Max.

At the time Kuma’s vision was described as ‘bold and ambitious, but buildable and practical’.


Charlie Sutherland of contest finalist Sutherland Hussey: ‘After four years of design development, design reviews, cost cutting, moving site, value engineering, postponement and procrastination by a raft of design and cost consultants the conclusion that the awarded design is double the original cost is not really a surprise to anyone involved in the competition process.What a fiasco

‘The Kuma design could only fit half of their model in the pre-assigned cube allocated at the competition stage.

‘[Director of city development at Dundee City Council] Mike Galloway’s imperious pronouncement to all those briefed for the competition that “‘any design that is clearly over budget at this stage will be thrown out” rings very hollow indeed.

‘What a fiasco!’

Alan Dunlop of Alan Dunlop Architects
‘It’s not really a surprise. From the start it was clear that the design that won the competition could not be built for the budget allocated. Despite a major redesign which greatly simplified the competition winning scheme, the project still is not able meet its cost target. However, Dundee has made the V+A such a fundamental part of the redevelopment of its waterfront, the city council’s policy and resources committee will have to approve it and look to the Scottish Government to cough up the additional money. It may help that Dundee was only one of two Scottish cities that voted for independence in the referendum last September.’

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Readers' comments (1)

  • With the project already beached to save money, let's hope it doesn't sink without trace

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