AOC Architecture unveils transformative refurbishment of the V&A Museum of Childhood 17.02.20

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The museum's facade, facing Cambridge Heath Road in Bethnal Green. Photo: Will Pryce. Courtesy of the V&A.The museum's facade, facing Cambridge Heath Road in Bethnal Green. Photo: Will Pryce. Courtesy of the V&A.

The V&A Museum of Childhood is to temporarily close for a £13m redesign

The Bethnal Green-based museum — founded in 1872, and housed in a building that once stood in Kensington — will be refashioned by London-based studio AOC Architecture. 

Aiming to augment the creativity of its younger visitors through child-centric design and bold colours, AOC’s plan will transform the museum’s central hall into the Town Square, with a 150-person performance space for daily activities.

Architectural Render MoC Imagine Gallery c AOCA render of the new IMAGINE gallery. Courtesy of AOC

A trio of new thematic galleries will replace the former collection displays: IMAGINE, which traces the myths and false behind famed children’s characters; PLAY, with a focus on games; and DESIGN, which will include innovative examples of contemporary design. All will contain interactive exhibits.

When reopened, the museum will display new acquisitions from across the globe, including the original Superman costume and Mary Poppins’ flying umbrella. Works by designers including Issey Miyake and Yves Behar will educate visitors on how objects are made. 

Architectural Render MoC Town Square c AOCThe refurbishment of the Museum of Childhood is expected to take two years. Courtesy of AOC

The museum will close on 11 May for the two-year period of construction. During this time, it will run a series of free activities for families at the Idea Store in nearby Whitechapel, as well as a raft of special events and commissions. 

Named for an acronym of Agents of Change, AOC Architecture’s previous work includes an interactive gallery at the Wellcome Collection library and a community centre in Nunhead.

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