PHOTO ©JAN SCHÜNKE
Kengo Kuma asked Mucciola to lead the design team on the V&A Dundee project
Museums today should be more than just exhibition galleries; they should be true public spaces for our cities
Project architect Maurizio Mucciola talks us through the highs and lows of this challenging project How did you get involved with V&A Dundee?
It was also very important for us to create a museum
At the time of the competition in 2010, I was working as
as public space. We strongly believe that museums today
project architect at Kengo Kuma & Associates in Tokyo. When
should be more than just exhibition galleries; they should be
the practice was shortlisted for the design competition, Kengo
true public spaces for our cities.
Kuma wanted me to lead the design team for V&A Dundee. I visited Dundee for the first time with Kengo Kuma in June
With this in mind, we conceived the main hall as an interior piazza. We wanted to re-create the qualities of a public space
2010 and we were both impressed by the stunning setting
where people can go to relax, enjoy a drink or just sit on a
and the view from the project site across the river estuary.
bench. I hope visitors will feel welcome in the building and will
Kuma was very interested in the project – as we all were
use it naturally as part of Dundee’s public space.
– so we put together a very strong team to develop the competition proposal. Our design was selected as the winner
How did the surroundings influence the design?
in the autumn of 2010.
We wanted to create a very organic relationship between the building and the water; this led us to develop the unique
What was your aim with the project?
shape of the building which naturally sits on the river and the
Our initial brief was to create a design able to re-connect the
shallow reflective ponds. We also got inspiration from the
city and the river. This was the focus of all our design choices.
beautiful Scottish landscape, especially from the rugged cliffs
One of the most important features of the design is the void we created, allowing visitors to literarily walk through
of north eastern Scotland. The shape of the building’s façade, which avoids straight
the building. This void frames the view of the river from the
vertical walls, was designed to create semi-covered spaces
city and invites people to walk to the riverside. In this way
under the inclined walls. We refer to these as ‘in-between
we aimed to use the void as a means of creating a new
spaces’ and they work as filter zones between outside and
connection between the city and the river.
inside, creating a friendly and inviting space for the museum.
CLAD mag 2018 ISSUE 4