Libeskind's £70m V&A extension in peril after lottery fund rejection

The Victoria and Albert Museum warned last night that its radical £70m Spiral extension is in jeopardy after an application for lottery funding was thrown out.

A request for a £15m grant to build the London museum's long-awaited modernist extension, designed by Daniel Libes-kind, the architect of the replacement for the World Trade Centre in New York, was rejected by the Heritage Lottery Fund. A spokeswoman for the V&A said the decision could mean the abandonment of the project. "We are deeply disappointed by this news. Britain excels in the field of contemporary design and badly needs a national centre to showcase our creative talents.

"It is a great shame to lose the chance to provide the platform and at the same time to give London an outstanding new building," the V&A said in a statement.

"Our trustees will review the situation in the autumn. However, this decision jeopardises the future of the Spiral."

Mr Libeskind remains confident the Spiral will go ahead even though it is eight years since he submitted his original design. "I'm very disappointed, but I see no reason why the building should not be built," he said. "Great cultural projects take a long time - it's not easy to build them. These projects do require a lot of discussion.

"I'm ever an optimist. I believe this building is a signal to the whole of London that the V&A is not a dusty old building, it is very exciting."

The architect is also renown-ed for the Jewish Museum in Berlin and the Imperial War Museum North in Manchester, his first building in the UK, which was unveiled in 2002.

The museum's trustees, led by Paula Ridley, will meet in September to decided what options are open to them. They may decide to continue to try to raise private finance for the Spiral, or look at alternatives.

Carole Souter, the director of the Heritage Lottery Fund, said: "We thought long and hard about this proposal, but finally decided that it would not be able to deliver the major heritage benefits that we expect to see for such a large request for lottery players' money.

"There is no doubt that Daniel Libeskind's vision for the V&A Spiral is imaginative and technically impressive, but it did not deliver well against our key requirements of conservation, education and enjoyment of the UK's heritage," she added.

Mr Libeskind won a competition to build the shiny extension to the V&A in 1996, under the museum's previous director Alan Borg. Despite residents' concerns that the futuristic design jarred with the 19th century museum, Kensington and Chelsea Council granted it planning permission.

But the project has been dogged by a lack of money over the past eight years, even though Dr Borg's successor, Mark Jones, remains committed to the plans. In 2000, the V&A was turned down by the Millennium Commission after submitting an application for a grant at a late stage, and earlier this year the Arts Council refused the project a £5m grant.

Although the Heritage Lottery Fund has declined funding to the V&A on this occasion, in the past the body has awarded more than £17m to the museum.

A spokeswoman for the V&A said the decision did not affect other plans, including new £25m medieval and Renaissance galleries, a new Islamic gallery opening in 2006, new architecture and sculpture galleries and a redesigned garden.

The lottery fund also announced a number of projects whose grants were accepted yesterday. These include the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, which has secured £15m for an extension designed by the architect Rick Mather, which will enable the museum to display thousands of items currently hidden away in storage.

A further £11m has been earmarked to restore the six-mile Stonehouse to Brims-combe stretch of the Cotswold canals, including original features such as accommodation bridges and locks.

Overall, the Heritage Lottery Fund has allocated £3bn to more than 15,000 projects across the UK, including grants to all 10 of the most visited museums.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
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

Recruitment Genius: 3rd Line Virtualisation, Windows & Server Engineer

£40000 - £47000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A 3rd Line Virtualisation / Sto...

Recruitment Genius: Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Service Engineer

£26000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A successful national service f...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive / Sales - OTE £25,000

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Fixed Term Contract

£17500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We currently require an experie...

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific