Friday, 15 October 2010

V & A to Shape our Community for the Future?

Image of proposed site of V and A situated on the banks of the River Tay

As a design student in Dundee, the plans for the extended V and A Museum coming to our city is an exciting move I await with much anticipation. The people of and around Dundee, including students, councils, designers and the general public are showing the same intrigue - 700 people a day have visited the 'V and A: Making it Happen' Exhibition at Abertay University, showing the six finalist design proposals for the museum.

So far over 10,000 visitors have shown interest in the project. Evidence shown through media and community response, this can hopefully discouraged the question - 'Is this going to be the next Geelong disaster?' (where a new Guggenheim was promised to Geelong city where plans fell through at the last minute and no spectacular building was constructed.)

Last night, Kylie Messenger, author of 'Museums - Cutting Edge Culture for the 21st Century', gave a lecture about how museums are the new 'cathedral of culture' in towns and cities, a place where the community come together to collect culture in all forms, solve problems wether it social, political etc, get involved in social engagement and have fun! Not only does the new V and A have goals of improving social and political situations, it is simultaneously designed to encourage urban regeneration of around the space on the Riverside, therefore increasing community well-being, through things like employment and education.

The chosen design for the museum has to successfully create a cultural centre space for culture, debate which will become a talking point in both the community and further afield. Other museums have proven how an immensely good affect this can have on the space around it, for example Te Papa Museum of New Zealand in Wellington. The design, sympathetic to the environment around, including the sea likewise to the V and A location, encouraged community art and culture to grow around the Museum building itself.

As judge Graham Hutton stated the V and A Dundee has an amazing potential in becoming a 'constantly replenishing space' that leaves traces as parts of our city and shape our public culture. This need for creativity and culture has never been greater and through the blurring of disciplinary boundaries of the architecture itself, what is being exhibited, the city around and the community involved.

The V and A Dundee has high hopes for creating 'delight and enjoyment in the Design World to enrich peoples lives' (Kylie Message), and our community seems to be behind it all the way.

For news and events on the developments of the V and A Dundee visit;

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