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13 Oct 2021
V&A renames childhood museum as part of £13m redevelopment
By Tom Walker
V&A renames childhood museum as part of £13m redevelopment
The revamp has been designed by De Matos Ryan and AOC Architecture
Photo: AOC Architecture
Construction work has begun on a £13m redevelopment project which will look to transform the V&A Museum of Childhood into the UK’s "premier national museum" entirely dedicated to children.

Designed by De Matos Ryan and AOC Architecture, the revamp of the iconic Grade II* listed site in Bethnal Green, London, UK will provide the museum with an entirely new visitor experience.

Plans include three new galleries – called Play, Imagine and Design – an interactive collection displays drawing on the full scope of the V&A collections, a suite of dedicated workshops for learning, an in-gallery design studio for visitors and a new café and shop.

Creative education spaces for hands-on making and performance will play a key role in Young V&A’s new galleries.

These include an amphitheatre-style stage in Imagine, a free-play construction area within Play, and a working Open Studio in Design, inviting young visitors to develop their creative skills through performance, play and design.

There are also three workshop spaces and a reading room on the lower ground floor dedicated to learning – all spaces which will support a year-round educational programme.

Activities within the learning programme will range from parenting courses and sessions for early years to curriculum-based provision for school learners (Key Stages 1, 2 and 3) and after school and holiday activities for families and young people.

Designed for 0–14-year olds, the revamped museum is set to reopen to the public in 2023, when it will also boast a new name – Young V&A.

The new name was chosen to reflect the museum's new mission to inspire young people with "the creative ingenuity of design", to empower educators and to act as a leader in child-centred museum practice.

Director of the V&A, Tristram Hunt, said: “Young people’s lives have been dramatically altered by the pandemic, yet they have adapted and enriched the soul of the nation in extraordinary ways – from a rainbow campaign honouring the NHS to Sky Brown’s skateboarding achievements for Team GB.

"A world-class museum that nurtures curiosity, experimentation and celebrates play, Young V&A will be a global champion for children’s creativity in all its forms.

"This vital investment – working to counter the ongoing effects of Covid-19 on young people’s access to creative education, collaborative play, and artistic inspiration – is more urgent than ever. I am delighted we are one step closer to reopening the museum’s doors in 2023.”

De Matos Ryan architects were appointed in early 2018 to develop a full base build design, including structural changes, heritage restoration, lighting and acoustic upgrades and delivery of a new suite of new workshop spaces.

Construction is now underway with handover of the site to Quinn London contractors in August 2021.

In parallel, AOC Architecture – the design team responsible for the fit-out – are completing final detailed drawings for construction tender in early autumn.

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