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Purcell picked for phase 2 of V&A Photography Centre

David Kohn Architects’ Photography Centre at the V&A
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Purcell has won a publicly tendered contract for the second phase of the Victoria and Albert Museum’s new Photography Centre

The conservation specialist practice will work as base build architect to overhaul four existing rooms within the museum’s Grade I-listed South Kensington home and create a new roof for the V&A’s Tapestry Gallery.

Purcell was chosen ahead of rival bids by HOK, Dow Jones Architects, Dannatt Johnson Architects and Pringle Richards Sharratt.

The project, scheduled to compete in 2022, comes a year after David Kohn Architects completed the first phase of the Photography Centre (pictured), featuring a gallery for displays drawn from the museum’s 800,000 photographic items. The second phase will deliver a teaching and research space, a browsing library, a studio and photographers’ darkroom.

Earlier this month, the museum launched a separate search for a fit-out design team to work with Purcell on designs for a £1.7 million interior for the photography centre.

In its brief for the base build contract, the V&A said: ‘The overall purpose is to create a state-of-the-art international pPhotography Centre to improve public understanding of the history of photography and its techniques. Phase 1 has been delivered and encompasses rooms 99, 100 and 101.

‘The design for the second phase of the Photography Centre comprises of rooms 95, 96, 97 and 98, a new roof to the Tapestry Gallery (room 94) and a large amount of M&E upgrade/replacement works. These spaces will join Phase 1 to complete and reopen the suite of rooms originally designed and built in the 1860s.’

The V&A is the world’s largest museum dedicated to design and the decorative arts, with more than 2.3 million objects in its collection.

The Photography Centre is the latest project to emerge from the museum’s high-profile FuturePlan renewal programme, which aims to harness the ‘best contemporary designers’ to improve visitor facilities inside the Grade I-listed Aston Webb-designed landmark.

Completed FuturePlan projects include a a £1 million shop by Friend and Company and a new members’ room by Carmody Groarke.

Major projects in the pipeline include a £2.25 million overhaul of the museum’s main entrance on Cromwell Road by Sam Jacob Studio, a £25 million collections centre by Diller Scofidio + Renfro for the V&A’s new outpost on the Olympic Park, and a £13.5 million revamp of the V&A Museum of Childhood by AOC and De Matos Ryan.

Last month V&A announced it had selected Roz Barr Architects for an overhaul of its fashion gallery. The practice was selected ahead of Farshid Moussavi, Alison Brooks, 6a architects, Ab Rogers Design, and Pernilla Ohrstedt Studio for the ’exceptional project’ to reconfigure the museum’s Octagon Court.

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