The Victorian & Albert museum is to launch a competition to design a new gallery on its eastern flank.
In the mid-1990s, the V&A museum ran a similar competition. The winner was Daniel Libeskind's Spiral, a provocative £80m deconstructed block that somehow won planning permission from Kensington & Chelsea council. It didn't, however, win favour from those holding the purse strings, and after a failed attempt to crib together some change from the lottery, it was squashed in September 2004.
Still, the Museum's old boilerhouse yard is ripe for expansion, and after running a series of "design studies" earlier this year (pictured above), the V&A has decided to press ahead with a new competition. Design director Moira Gemmill has spoken of creating a semi-public space, with a new piazza fronting onto Exhibition Road.
Will any of the designs submitted for the studies make it onto the shortlist? It's hard to imagine they won't, though the more outre efforts here are unlikely to be successful; the museum's experience with the Spiral suggests that the board of directors will tack this time toward the traditional.