Futuristic V&A plan likely to be rejected

A CONTROVERSIAL design for an extension to the Victoria and Albert Museum, which has been described variously as a potential "icon like the Eiffel Tower and the Guggenheim in Bilbao" and a "spiral of crumpled boxes", appears doomed, as the project is likely to be refused planning permission.

The museum wants to sandwich a futuristic building, The Spiral, between its Victorian galleries in Kensington, but the council's planning officials recommended yesterday that permission be refused at next Monday's committee meeting. They claim the building, designed by the avant-garde architect Daniel Libeskind, is too large for the site.

The extension is part of a pounds 75m project to provide extra gallery space at the museum, but it has attracted support and opposition in equal measure ever since the design was unveiled two years ago.

The seven-storey building was designed to sit between the museum's Henry Cole Wing and the Aston Webb site in south Kensington. The architect has described it as "a geometric spiral", faced with tiles which, higher up, would give way to glass panels. Lifts would scale the building's exterior and it would house galleries and an education centre.

Sir Jocelyn Stevens, the chairman of English Heritage, said: "It will be a tragedy and a wasted opportunity if it is turned down. A building can change the whole perception of a town. The Sydney Opera House changed Australia and this building is as important."

Gwyn Miles, head of major projects at the V&A, said she was very disappointed with the council's recommendation but was confident that the museum would win any appeal. "This is a building that the V&A needs for its contemporary art, craft and design. But it will also be a centre for London and the country," she said.

But many local residents are opposed to the extension. A spokesman for the Chelsea Society said the building was deliberately designed to shock and "Exhibition Road is not the Bilbao waterfront".

Carol Seymour-Newton, of the Knightsbridge Association, said the development lacked "dignity and grace".

A spokesman for Kensington and Chelsea Council said it had received 22 letters of objection and 20 of support.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + uncapped commission, Benefits, OTE £100k: SThree: ...

Guru Careers: Dining Room Head Chef

£32K: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Dining Room Head Chef to work for one of ...

Guru Careers: Pastry Sous Chef / Experienced Pastry Chef

£27K: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Pastry Sous Chef / Experienced Pastry Che...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: Are you a recent graduate loo...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine