Victoria and Albert Museum director Mark Jones has acted to scotch any possibility of the RIBA drawings collection relocating to an alternative home. The move follows the revelation in the AJ last week that a number of key architects support a reassessment of the decision to shift the collection to the V&A, and turn to the Royal Academy instead.
Jones told the AJ: 'A partnership between the RIBA and ourselves would create a rich, unparalleled resource for the public. The V&A is the obvious place to do that. This deal will go ahead' RIBA chief executive Richard Hastilow agreed:
'This is a project for the 21st century, providing top care for international treasures while reaching out imaginatively to show what good architecture can do for society.'
One of the worries of the concerned architects was that the drawings collection would be subsumed by the other world-class V&A collections.
Jones responded: 'Yes, we do have a rich collection, but that is not a drawback. The V&A is a respected international institution that can place the collection in context.' He added that attendance figures at the museum were healthy and that 'there is nothing sadder than a great collection which is not well used.'
Jones added that allegations of a lack of top level support within the museum for the drawings collection was 'totally unfounded.'
A spokesperson for the RA told the AJ: 'We wish both organisations every success on the project.'
Solicitors have prepared a draft agreement and lease. It will be signed by the end of the month. The cost to the RIBA for the V&A move so far is £989,576. The V&A has spent £250,000.