Exhibition Road project by Amanda Levete Architects given the green light

The Victoria & Albert is set to build a landmark new indoor and outdoor exhibition space designed by Amanda Levete Architects after the scheme won planning last night.

Kensington and Chelsea council granted permission for the £41m ‘Exhibition Road project’, for which £25m in funding has already been pledged.

The development will include a new purpose-built underground gallery, a “magnificent” courtyard space and a new entrance from the recently landscaped Exhibition Road on the west side of the museum.

The project will also reveal the Victorian facades on the west side of the V&A’s grade-I listed buildings which have been restored to their former glory but never before seen by the public.

Amanda Levete Architects won the international competition to design the project in March last year.

Levete said: “This is a defining project for Amanda Levete Architects. We’re reimagining the dialogue between the V&A and Exhibition Road and in doing so, creating a new public space in the cultural and learning heart of London. It’s made particularly special by the V&A collections having inspired so much of our work.”

Sir Paul Ruddock, chairman of the V&A board of trustees, said: “We are delighted to move a significant step closer to signalling this new era of the V&A’s remarkable history which will transform the way we present temporary exhibitions and reinforce the museum as a world leader of art and design.

“Not only will the development continue to improve the presence of Exhibition Road as an international cultural hub but it will provide us with the building and facilities to welcome more residents and visitors than ever before.”

Architect Richard Rogers has leant his support to the project.

“The scheme is an outstanding design, as well as, a natural part of the continuing development of the museum,” he said.

“It is inspiring to see a new public space placed at the heart of a project. Amanda Levete’s design is an important and elegant step in the evolution of the museum; it helps continue the programme of opening up the V&A to everyone, whilst revealing the previously unseen historic facade. The project will provide a beautiful addition to one of the UK’s cultural gems which will enhance the V&A’s position as one of the world’s leading museums.”

Enabling work will begin this autumn to divert services within the site and building work is planned to start in 2013 and complete by the end of 2015, opening to the public in 2016.