V&A Expansion to Dwarf Tate Modern

What's in store for London's celebrated museum?

The Victoria and Albert Museum is planning a new branch in London’s former Olympic Park—and it’s going to be huge. According to a brief from London Mayor Boris Johnson, quoted in The Art Newspaper, the so-called V&A East will spread over 20,000 square meters (215,000 square feet), half of which will be dedicated to exhibition space.

This dwarfs Tate Modern’s 7,900 square meters of display space and further demonstrates that the trend for ever-bigger museums shows no signs of abating (see “Does Britain Need a New Tate Modern?“). But Tate Modern won’t ever really languish in second place. When its new building opens in 2016, exhibition space will increase by 70 percent to reach 13,500 square meters.

The V&A East is one of the many initiatives set to transform the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park into a vibrant new hub for the British capital. Spreading over 227 hectares, the project—known as Olympicopolis—will feature 22,000 new residential units. It is one of the largest new urban spaces created in Europe in the last 150 years.

A key element of the development is the Culture and Education Quarter. The complex will include the V&A East, a branch of the dance venue Sadler’s Wells, as well as a new campus for University College London.

A fourth, yet-to-be-announced organization is also part of the plan. But despite rumors that a Guggenheim London might be in the works, nothing has been confirmed at this stage (see “A Guggenheim in London”). Local authorities and developers hope that the Culture and Education Quarter will generate £5 billion ($8 billion) for the area by 2030.

Olympicopolis Design Competition

A design competition for Olympicopolis’ cultural quarter was launched last July and received over 900 submissions in the first two months. The deadline has just been extended to November 11.

Jury member and V&A director Martin Roth has described the project as “one of the most exciting international developments in arts and culture.” He added: “It is paramount that we find a brilliant design solution for such a large-scale and multi-functioning venue. I hope that a broad range of architectural practices from across the spectrum will submit entries so we can deliver something truly wonderful for London.”

The jury also includes Royal Academician and principal at Sauerbruch Hutton Architects, Louisa Hutton, Director of the Pritzker Architecture Prize, Martha Thorne, and Dr. Munira Mirza, the Deputy Mayor for Education and Culture. They will select five finalists, who will then be invited to submit more detailed concept designs. The winning team will be announced in March 2015.

Follow Artnet News on Facebook:

Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.