picture of V&A Arts Education Centre

V&A Arts Education Centre

The V&A Museum asked Softroom to design the centre for arts education with a brief to expand their facilities and develop them for future generations. With learning at the heart of the museum, it would be a centre of excellence, enabling the museum to reach out to wider audiences beyond its walls.

The programme called for a high-quality practical art studio, a digital media lab as well as workshops for artists, designers and craftspeople in residence, and a large flexible lunchroom/activity space. A seminar room and an 140-seat auditorium, more than doubling the space dedicated to education at the V&A.

We worked closely with staff in the V&A’s Learning and Interpretation Department to develop a Centre tailored to the needs of a broad demographic of users whilst addressing the historic context, connections to the wider institution and masterplanning.

The existing building presented many obstacles to the vision of creating a welcoming, transparent and innovative education centre. The key re-organisation of the building has been the creation of a new stairwell connecting the two floors of the Centre and linking through with the rest of the museum - all requiring full DDA compliant access.

‘The way the design works with existing features is impressive, as is the skill with which the architect has fitted new accommodation into the existing plan layout while also ensuring good levels of natural light. An exemplar education centre that should be emulated.’

— The Architects’ Journal

‘faultless and appropriate’

— MARK Magazine


Public Building, RIBA Awards 2010
Long-listed, The Art Fund Prize for museums and galleries 2009
ADAPT Award for Excellence in Access 2006

Further reading