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Japanese architect’s new V&A museum opens in Scotland

AFP-JijiDUNDEE, Scotland (AFP-Jiji) — A futuristic museum designed by Tokyo Olympic Stadium architect Kengo Kuma and featuring exterior concrete slabs in the shape of a ship’s hull was unveiled in Scotland on Wednesday.

The £80 million ($104 million) Victoria & Albert Dundee sits on the banks of the River Tay.

The original V&A in London, named after Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, is the world’s largest museum of decorative arts and design.

The museum is the centrepiece of a £1 billion regeneration of Scotland’s fourth largest city, which has suffered years of economic decline.

City leaders hope the museum will create a similar economic boost as the Guggenheim Bilbao, which opened in 1997 and took the Basque city from a tourist backwater to a major draw for around 1.75 million visitors annually.

Kuma, who also designed the new national stadium for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, said he wants the V&A Dundee to be “a new living room for the city.”

John Alexander, leader of the Dundee City Council, said visitors have already increased by almost a tenth on the back of the ongoing regeneration and an endorsement by travel guide Lonely Planet as a top European destination for 2018. “For too long this city was seen as a poor relation to some of our larger neighboring cities, but that is no longer the case,” he said. “Dundee is leading the charge in cultural-led regeneration.”

Tristram Hunt, director of the V&A in London, described the new museum as a beacon for exchange and interaction “at a time of far too much inward looking nationalism and parochialism.”Speech

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