The V&A Museum of Childhood in east London has named the architecture practice that will lead its redevelopment and transformation. AOC, a firm also based in east London, won the competition to transform the museum, and will unveil the detail of their plans, including the addition of new galleries, in autumn 2019.
The museum is in its second year of a planned redevelopment and the designs by AOC are part of the larger aim to engage children and young people in design, creativity and play. Adding three new gallery spaces will expand the number of objects on display, and the museum intends to continue with recent initiatives to include children and local schools in the design process.
Philippa Simpson, V&A Director of Design and FuturePlan, said, “The V&A are thrilled to be working with AOC on this seminal project. Their response to our challenging brief outlined an exciting and ambitious approach to working openly with our community and our wider audience, as well as a deep understanding of the museum as a vehicle for social change.”
As part of the fit-out, AOC will work with De Matos Ryan, the architects appointed for the base build. De Matos Ryan won the transformation role in October 2018 and has plans to expand on Caruso St. John’s original scheme, including adding a new entrance.
The museum currently has an exhibition on display, A Pirate’s Life For Me, which was collaboratively designed with children, and runs a regular takeover day, where local schoolchildren run the museum’s operations.
AOC emphasised the plan to encourage creativity through the designs, with the practice’s director, Geoff Shearcroft, saying, “We are looking forward to developing a public building that is both an essential civic space for Bethnal Green and a physically and socially interactive museum for multi-generational and inter-cultural audiences.”
Public buildings and exhibition design have been a focus for AOC, which was established in 2005. the practice was responsible for the Reading Room at the Wellcome Collection and is currently working on the redevelopment of the National Archives in Kew.