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V&A shortlists six for fashion gallery makeover

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Farshid Moussavi, Alison Brooks and 6a architects are on the shortlist of practices competing for the overhaul of The Victoria and Albert Museum’s (V&A) fashion gallery

The finalists in the running for the commission to reconfigure the museum’s Octagon Court also include Ab Rogers Design, Roz Barr Architects and Pernilla Ohrstedt Studio.

The team selected for the estimated £450,000 design contract will redesign the gallery, which exhibits the V&A’s collection of 14,000 outfits dating from 1600 to the present day and including works by Vivienne Westwood, Mary Quant and Alexander McQueen.

The project, planned to compete in 2022, comes just seven years after 6a architects completed a light-touch £950,000 refurbishment of the 1,580m² gallery, which was originally designed by Aston Webb as part of a 1909 expansion of the museum.

The winning team will also deliver a temporary exhibition space and retail area. The competition brief states: ‘The V&A’s Fashion Gallery is one of the most impressive spaces in the museum and is home to one of the world’s leading collections of dress and textiles.

‘This prestigious project offers a unique opportunity to re-imagine one of our most popular galleries, to provide within it an elegant and immersive space for the museum’s unique and fascinating collection, and to create a destination gallery. Global in reach, but provoking a very personal response, this redesigned gallery will be enjoyed for many years to come.’

Founded in 1852, 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 fashion gallery upgrade is the latest project to emerge from the museum’s FuturePlan renewal programme, which aims to harness the ‘best contemporary designers’ to improve visitor facilities inside the Grade I-listed landmark building.

Completed FuturePlan projects include a photography centre by David Kohn Architects, a £1 million shop by Friend and Company and a new members’ room by Carmody Groarke.

Other 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.

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