V&A Museum of Design Dundee

A building that will inspire Dundonians and attract worldwide recognition

Designed by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma the £80m V&A Dundee building will protrude out into the River Tay.

Since construction started in April 2015, key milestones achieved include the completion of a cofferdam (see below), groundworks on the former reclaimed dock site, piling for the ground source heating system and remodelling of the river wall.

Project details

  • Customer: Dundee City Council
  • Architects: Kengo Kuma & Associates
  • Quantity Surveyor: CBA
  • M&E Consultants: Arup
  • Structural Engineer: Arup

View related projects

620 Fact icon temporary piles inserted into the river
150 Fact icon meters of comic board strip covering the hoardings
127 Fact icon attendees at BAM’s “meet the buyer” day
This year’s programme involves constructing the core inner walls, stairwell and lift cores and the outer double curvature walls of the building. It will take the remainder of this year to take the building up to its roof height.

The building is due to be completed in 2018. As of June 2016, the building is coming out of the ground and has completed around 30% of the external structure.
We are relishing meeting the unique technical and construction challenges and working with all our partners to deliver a building that will inspire Dundonians and attract worldwide recognition.

Malcolm Boyd

Construction Manager

Cofferdam bit

To enable the land reclamation work to progress, BAM constructed a cofferdam ahead of the June embargo on river works to avoid any impact on the harbour seals’ breeding season.

The striking design by celebrated architect Kengo Kuma requires the V&A to perch unproped over the river Tay. To achieve this, the team has built a cofferdam, a temporary structure that retains water and soil, allowing the enclosed area to be pumped out and excavated dry. The cofferdam acts as is allowing allow the team to build a temporary access road around the building and allows the team to build temporary structures to prop the building up until the complex concrete frame is complete.

“A cofferdam is an unusual temporary structure as it lies in water,” said Jim Ward, Scotland Construction Director. “We inserted 620 temporary piles into the river. This allows us to temporarily reclaim a section of the river to construct the foundation section of the building on the river bed.

“The cofferdam will also provide a platform to construct the concrete frame at an angle to create the distinctive overhang and attach the perimeter precast on the side of the building.” added Jim. “Once all the works are complete, we will then remove the cofferdam and reflood the river up to the building.”

Feeding the imagination

BAM in Scotland is establishing a track-record for imaginative site hoardings but its latest may be hard to top. After using alternative Vogue covers decorating the perimeter of Connect110ns in Glasgow, it now has a 150-metre long comic book strip at the V&A waterfront.

Comic illustrator Will Morris and graphic designer David Mackenzie were commissioned to design the giant comic strip. Called Adventures in Design, it tells the story of the contribution of design to everyday life, featuring such Scottish designs as the Falkirk Wheel and Harris Tweed.

Dundee is the home of DC Thomson, whose publications include The Beano and The Dandy, begetter of Dennis the Menace, Desperate Dan, Minnie the Minx and the Bash Street Kids.

“Comic illustration is such an integral part of Dundee’s creative history that we immediately understood the appeal for local audiences. Equally we hope this approach will inspire and excite audiences nationally, and around the world,” said V&A Dundee marketing & communications manager Tara Wainwright.

Lorna Macaulay, chief executive of the Harris Tweed Authority, said: “The Harris Tweed Authority are honoured to have our story told in these beautiful hoarding boards around this iconic new building. If this is the level of creativity on the building site, I am deeply excited for what’s to come inside the building when it’s ready.”

Local economic benefits

BAM organised a successful ‘Meet the buyer’ day with Dundee Council to recruit a local workforce for the prestigious V&A Dundee project.

127 attendees heard from Malcolm Boyd, BAM Construction Manager who is leading the project. “The V&A Dundee project is part of the wider regeneration of Dundee’s waterfront and we want the project to have a positive and far reaching local impact.” he said. “By employing local subcontractors, BAM is helping to create local jobs and boost the economy.”

The team has a target to employ 12 new local people into the industry and is averaging 56% local labour on site.

I am impressed by BAM's commitment to create as many opportunities as possible for local firms and individuals to benefit from this transformational project.

David Martin

Dundee City Council Chief Executive

V&A Dundee, virtual fly-through video