Fossil Paving at the Victoria and Albert Museum




Dundee, UK

The stunning new design museum in Dundee, designed by Japanese architect Kendo Kuma, features 1,100 square metres of Kilkenny limestone interior tiles.

In total, 30 cubic metres of blue limestone was supplied to UK contractors Hardscape, a firm better known for external landscaping, but now moving into the field of interior fit-out.

A Key Feature

The stone was used in the form of free-length planks, each 300 millimetres wide, and was laid by contractors Careys at the remarkable rate of 70 to 80 square metres per day, using two teams. In the main hall, light wood is used to contrast with the fossil-rich blue limestone.

The polished fossil limestone is a key feature of the main entrance space and steps of the new museum, which opened in September 2018 and is already proving popular with visitors.

The Flagship Development

The building is the flagship element of the £1 billion redevelopments of Dundee’s waterfront area, which is aimed at transforming 8 kilometres of disused land into a key cultural and business hub.  The architect said that drew his inspiration from the nearby sea cliffs, and described the building as “a conversation between nature and artefact….The city in the 21st century needs that kind of reconnection with nature because without nature people cannot survive.  This building is a very good example of creating a new gate between city and nature.”  Natural materials such as limestone were, therefore, a key element of the design concept.

A Popular Building

The building as a whole takes the form of two inverted pyramids, which join at the top.  It is clad with irregular concrete panels, to suggest the appearance of an eroded cliff face.

Running several years behind schedule and millions of pounds over budget, the V&A building has inevitably attracted controversy but has had a favourable reception from the people of Dundee, and it is anticipated that it will eventually attract 350,000 people every year. It is the first Victoria and Albert museum outside London.


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