V&A wins approval for spiral annexe

A FUTURISTIC design for an extension to the Victoria and Albert Museum, which has been variously described as a potential "icon like the Eiffel Tower or the Guggenheim in Bilbao" and a "spiral of crumpled boxes" was granted planning permission last night.

In a report last week, planning officials recommended that the designs for the futuristic spiral be refused on the ground that the building was too large for the site.

But Kensington & Chelsea planning committee overruled them yesterday and voted eight to four in favour of granting permission.

David Campion, the planning and conservation committee chairman, said: "After the most careful consideration we have decided that on balance we should grant permission.

"Of course we are concerned about the impact on the surrounding buildings but, because of the proposal's national importance, it was felt that this transcended the borough's planning policies."

A spokesman for the V&A said last night that everyone at the museum was "ecstatic".

Dr Alan Borg, director of the museum, said: "We know there is a lot of hard work still to do but this is a marvellous vote of confidence in the quality of Daniel Libeskind's proposal."

Sir Jocelyn Stevens, the chairman of English Heritage, who has been a vociferous supporter of the design, said it would have been a tragedy if it had been refused planning permission. "A building can change the whole perception of a town. The Sydney Opera House changed Australia and this building is as important," he said recently.

The pounds 75m building, designed by the avant-garde architect Daniel Libeskind, is intended 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". Lifts would scale the building's exterior and it would house galleries and an education centre.

But ever since the design was unveiled two years ago it has attracted support and opposition in equal measure.

Brian Sewell, the art critic, said the building was totally inappropriate for the site and he was appalled at the decision.

"As a separate design in the middle of Milton Keynes it might have something to be said for it but it has no business being at the V&A," he said.

"The people who made this decision ... should never have been allowed to make a decision of this magnitude without having a look at some of the other work he [Libeskind], has done. But there is still a chance that it may not be built because they have yet to find the money."

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

Carol Seymour-Newton, of the Knightsbridge Association, said the building lacked dignity and grace and added that members were very disappointed. "We felt it was discordant, but these things happen and perhaps we will get used to it in time."

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

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

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
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?