V&A building site visit

Tour of the V&A building site

Dundee Rotarians at the V&A Design Museum building site

On Friday 26th May the Rotary Club of Dundee enjoyed a visit to the V&A Dundee building site.

Fifteen members were welcomed by Construction Manager Malcolm Boyd who gave a comprehensive “Facts & Figures” presentation followed by timelapse films of the building work, a birds-eye drone view of the site and a cgi 3D fly-through of the waterfront area.

The Kengo Kuma designed building, inspired by the Arbroath cliffs, is unique in its design and structural engineering and fitting for world-class design musuem.

Construction began in March 2015 with the excavation of the coffer dam - working to an exacting schedule to avoid the seal-breeding season. Once in place work began on the foundations and core of the building. Temporary foundations were put in place to support the walls and floor until the roof was placed to hold everything together. The shutters and props which had supported the formwork for the concrete walls were then carefully removed equally from each side to avoid any undue stress on the walls and roof.

Work continues at great pace on the exterior cladding and landscaping with the building looking different every day. Other teams are working on the internal spaces and installation of windows.

Rotarians, clad in safety boots, hard hats and high-vis vests, were first taken to see “Wall 14”. This is a particularly dramatic curved section of the building used as a sample to address buildability issues, alignment, reinforcement, geometry, pour sequence and colour finishes. Here we could get up close and see how the wall is formed and how the uniquely shaped, two-tonne cladding panels are fixed to the concrete.

Following this we were guided onto the coffer dam to get a unique view of the back of the building and of the RSS Discovery. The dam is soon to be removed and so this particular view will only be accessible by boat from the River Tay.

We then entered the building via the main entrance to see the museum workshops and continued up the service stairs to view the extensive exhibition spaces on the second floor. The view from what will be the restaurant was stunning with a fantastic panorama of the Tay Rail Bridge with RSS Discovery below. The 17.5m high entrance gallery was covered in a nest of scaffolding but we could just about make out the main staircase which will sweep around the edge of the space.

The buidling work is due to be completed in January 2018 with the museum scheduled to open in August at which point, I'm sure, many of us will return for another visit!

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