Dundee's V&A Construction Site visit

Wow, The V&A museum on Dundee’s waterfront is so much bigger than it appears from Slessor Gardens. Walking towards this imposing structure is truly impressive.

V&A Dundee Space Station

Right now there is a giant coffer dam in place to offer solid ground to build the V&A on but soon the dam and all the rock will be removed leaving 27 metres of two storey concrete structure jutting out in to the River Tay.

Coffer Dam

Speaking to the Project Manager and other members of the BAM construction team it becomes apparent just how impressive this building will be when it’s completed. Each concrete panel is modelled on a computer and no two are the same. Some are relatively flat but what surprises you about this building is just how many seemingly impossible angles there are.

Impossible Curves

In most structures the roof and floor is supported and strengthened by the outer walls but in the case of the V&A it’s the exact opposite. All those extruding walls would come crashing down without all of the engineering genius in the roof and internal structure. Some of the forces being exerted on certain points of the building are just massive.

The outer most corner of the building which will eventually hang out over the River Tay has some amazing forces trying to make it come crashing down and even more amazing engineering genius ensuring it stays upright!

Every view of the V&A offers a different perspective. From some angles it looks like a great ship whereas from others it looks like a great monolithic structure from the Hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy.

Stretching out over the Tay

The internal fit out of the building is still ongoing but it’s clear it will offer some truly impressive views out across the Tay and the city of Dundee. One of the highlights of the internal fit out will be the permanent Charles Rennie Macintosh grand staircase but for the moment its mainly large open spaces that will eventually form the light and airy galleries and exhibitions.

Gallery Space

The tunnel through the centre of the building will house a large pond and water feature when the landscaping works commence in the next few months.

Perhaps the most amazing fact about this project is that despite its complexity and scale is still on schedule!

Huge thanks to BAM and those from the V&A who were kind enough to show us around this marvellous project.


S Burke McKay is a Scottish artist making sculptures from reclaimed metal from classic cars and agricultural machinery. Some of his most notable artworks include his metal Highland Cows, Fergus, Strachan and Stuart.

Click the images below to find out more about these unique creations:

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