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David Kohn reveals plans for new V&A photo centre

V&a photography centre render of the bern and ronny schwartz gallery (c) david kohn architects
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The Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) has released the first image of David Kohn Architects’ (DKA) design for its new photography centre

The first phase of a two-phase project to re-imagine the presentation of the London museum’s photographic collection will more than double the display space dedicated to photography by autumn 2018.

The V&A says DKA’s design will celebrate original features of the museum’s 19th-century picture galleries while creating a ‘rich variation of atmosphere’ through use of lighting. Features will include a modular system of display cases that can be reconfigured easily to allow for flexibility with displays, while climate control will create a stable environment for fragile works.

A newly-released render shows one of the largest galleries within a suite of rooms to be dedicated to photography. The 19th-century picture gallery, previously known as Gallery 100, will be renamed the Bern and Ronny Schwartz Gallery in recognition of the Bern Schwartz Family Foundation, the first major supporter of the photography centre.

The scheme is part of the V&A’s FuturePlan development programme. David Bickle, director of design, exhibitions and FuturePlan at the V&A, said: ‘We were delighted with the quality and inventiveness of DKA’s submission for the V&A Photography Centre, which answered the brief in the most effective and creative way.

‘DKA’s design fuses traditional gallery spaces with new interactive interventions that will completely revolutionise how visitors engage with the V&A’s photography collection.’

DKA won a competition for the project earlier this year (see AJ 07.04.17). Architect David Kohn, who confessed to a ’personal passion for photography’, said: ‘Our approach has been to offer visitors the widest range of ways to engage with this world-leading collection, framed by the stunning architecture of the refurbished galleries.’

The V&A will release further details of the project later this year.

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