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AJ ARCHITECTURE AWARDS

V&A courtyard by AL_A named Cultural Project of the Year

038 the sackler courtyard, v&a exhibition road quarter, designed by al a ©hufton+crow
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AL_A’s ‘uplifting’ interventions at the Victoria and Albert Museum have seen it scoop Cultural Project of the Year at the AJ Architecture Awards

Consisting of a huge 1,100m² column-free temporary exhibition space and major new conservation and art handling facilities, together with a new entrance, courtyard café and shop, this project was praised as being ‘highly ambitious and highly successful’.

The judges commended how it not only reworks and reinvigorates the museum internally, providing exceptional new facilities, but also reorientates it externally in its relationship to the city, with the café and courtyard both open outside museum hours, ‘tying in the V&A to the other museums and being very beneficial to the neighbourhood’. 

059the sainsbury gallery, the v&a exhibition road quarter, designed by al a ©hufton+crow

059the sainsbury gallery, the v&a exhibition road quarter, designed by al a ©hufton+crow

Source: Hufton + Crow

The scheme’s key move is sinking the new gallery, which with a span of 38m and a height of up to 10.5m is big enough to take the largest international touring shows. The judges called this ‘a really smart solution’ as well as noting the ‘engineering feat’ of piling almost 50m down within a Grade I-listed building while keeping the museum fully operational. Since it opened, museum visitor numbers have seen a significant uplift and staff are ‘evidently thrilled with the outcome’.

The ‘elegant and beautiful’ craftsmanship and internal detailing were picked out, with elements such as the new staircases described as ‘majestic’. The judges concluded: ‘This project has been showered with care and attention to detail … it really is uplifting.’ 

052 ascending staircase, the v&a exhibition road quarter, designed by al a ©hufton+crow

052 ascending staircase, the v&a exhibition road quarter, designed by al a ©hufton+crow

Source: Hufton + Crow

Finalist: Making History at St Fagans, Main Building Redevelopment by Purcell

Making History at St Fagans, Main building redevelopment by Purcell

Making History at St Fagans, Main building redevelopment by Purcell

Mathematics: The Winton Gallery by Zaha Hadid Architects

Mathematics: The Winton Gallery by Zaha Hadid Architects

Source: Luke Hayes

Finalist: Oldham Town Hall by BDP

Oldham Town Hall by BDP

Oldham Town Hall by BDP

Finalist: The Bush Theatre by Haworth Tompkins

Bush Theatre by Haworth Tompkins

Bush Theatre by Haworth Tompkins

Source: Philip Vile

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