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Smith in 'build the Spiral with £25m Dome rebate' plea

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Former culture secretary Chris Smith has called for a potential £25 million rebate from the winding down of the company which ran the Dome to be pumped into building Daniel Libeskind's 'truly spectacular' Spiral at the V&A museum. Smith made his claim for the controversial £75 million building during a speech he gave to RIBA London members last week at a special dinner as part of Architecture Week at the RIBA.

He said he thought £25 million or more will come to the Millennium Commission - which funded the Lottery contribution to the Dome in the first place - from winding down the New Millennium Experience Company. And that cash could be used for other projects, with the Spiral being the most worthy cause.

'First, because it is a truly spectacular piece of contemporary architecture and will not only enhance the V&A itself, but will set London more firmly on the architectural map, ' he said.

Second, he added, it will 'give the Commission the chance to do what it has done in every other great city in the country: to create a significant modern building'.

And third, because it could mirror the history of the V&A itself - which was first built out of the surplus from the Great Exhibition of 1851 as a permanent showcase for the best of British creativity. 'To the Millennium Commission, and to the Arts Council, too, I would say: it is time, please to get behind the Spiral, ' Smith said.

The V&A said it is 'actively fundraising' for the Spiral project and aims to start building towards the end of next year. It has raised £31 million of the £75 million cost, so the £25 million would still leave the museum £19 million short.

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