V&A Museum, Dundee

Shortlisted design for the new V&A Museum in Dundee, which aims to develop a new centre of 21st century design for Scotland and the world at the heart of Dundee’s waterfront. The project was a joint venture with Steven Holl Architects, New York.

Inspired by the Special Light and spectacular views from the Dundee waterfront, the new V&A Museum was proposed as an imposing prominent form sitting in the River Tay, its sail-shaped geometry echoing the maritime heritage.

Aiming to restore and regenerate the earl grey harbour as the foreground to the new museum, the design proposal includes a new landscape and water public space that can seamlessly integrate the new centre to the city of Dundee. The structure, which rises out of the River Tay, reflects the royal arch in Dundee, a monumental gate built in 1853, with a vertical height equal to the original gate. During the night, the building is lit by a system of automated lights which becomes a measure of time by the sequence in which it shimmers. The new museum’s sail-shaped geometry features a floating translucent skin of fine, stainless steel mesh. Not only does this material provide a wind shielding effect, it diffuses direct sunlight by serving as a semi-transparent membrane over openings to the galleries. At night, this screen has the capability to glow with reflected light.




Dundee City Council / V&A Museum



The Challenge

The V&A at Dundee is looking to create a landmark building, which will be sited on the banks of the River Tay. Designers were invited to make proposals for a building that reflects the V&A at Dundee project partnership’s desire to stimulate commerce as well as local and visitor interest.

The Solution

Over 120 design teams from around the world made submissions to the design competition for the V&A project. jmarchitects were shortlisted in a joint venture with Steven Holl Architects. The other five shortlisted teams were: Delugan Meissl Associated Architects, Kengo Kuma & Associates, REX, Snøhetta and Sutherland Hussey Architects.

The Outcome

The University of Abertay Dundee hosted ‘V&A at Dundee – making it happen’
which exhibited all six shortlisted designs in drawings and models. The public were invited to give their input and opinions of the designs, the winner was announced in November 2010 with the final building planned to open in 2016.

Related Projects

Telford Drive

Telford Drive

Telford Drive Telford Drive is a high-quality affordable housing development close to the city centre of Edinburgh. The development offers eleven one-bed and two-bed flats, that have been...

Hawthorns SEND

Hawthorns SEND

Hawthorns SEND Hawthorns SEND School is a new build single storey SEND Primary School with additional Early Years' Provision for children in the age bracket between 4-11 years. The school is a new...

Cross Green Lane SEND

Cross Green Lane SEND

Cross Green Lane SEND The school is an ambulant special school, which will provide education facilities for 100 primary and 100 secondary pupils. Part of the school’s pupil provision is for 8 number...



64 Queen Street

0131 464 6100


50 Bell Street
G1 1LQ

0141 333 3920


Second Floor
37 Alfred Place
London WC1E 7DP

0207 580 5330


3A, 54 Princess Street
M1 6HS

0161 200 6300