The revised plans for the Stratford Waterfront cultural quarter

V&A plans £25m collections centre in London’s Olympic Park

Jonathan Knott, 24.01.2018
Venue would be 10 minutes from planned museum outpost
The Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) is planning a £25m collections and research centre close to its planned new outpost in the Olympic Park in East London.

The venue would be in the former Olympic Broadcasting Centre, which is now a digital and creative industry hub called Here East. The building is a ten-minute walk from the V&A’s planned outpost in a new cultural quarter at Stratford Waterfront. Together, the sites are being branded V&A East.

A statement from the V&A said: “This is an unprecedented opportunity to transform access to the V&A’s collection and subject to ministerial approval, will create an unparalleled, future-facing resource for museum staff and visitors, and particularly the communities of makers, students, researchers, and creatives that live and work nearby.”

Tim Reeve, the V&A’s chief operating officer and deputy director, said: "With initial agreements in place with Here East, we are now seeking an architect who can bring our vision for a world-class collection and research centre to life. We look forward to the architectural community’s response, and to moving the project forward once ministers give the green light.”

The Stratford Waterfront cultural quarter, sometimes referred to as Olympicopolis, will also include outposts of Sadler’s Wells Theatre, University College London, and the London College of Fashion. But the plans have had to be significantly revised due to expected changes in regulations regarding restricted views of St Pauls’ Cathedral. The planned height of residential towers has been reduced, in turn impacting the rest of the design.

The revised plans are currently undergoing public consultation. Museums Journal understands the V&A outpost will include permanent galleries and a programme co-curated with the US-based Smithsonian Institution. 

The collections centre is planned in part as a response to the government’s intention to sell Blythe House, where the V&A stores part of its collection together with the Science Museum and the British Museum. Museums Journal understands that the majority of the V&A’s Blythe House collection would move to the new collections centre, although detailed plans have not been finalised.

No date has been given for the expected completion of the collections centre. The government plans to vacate Blythe House by 2023.

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