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V & A makes an exhibition of itself

Blog | By Harry Mount | Jun 29, 2017

At last, a useful west London mega-basement! For years, oligarchs and bankers have been destroying their neighbours' lives while they burrow into the soil like greedy moles, in search of underground cinemas and swimming pools. 

But the new V & A Sainsbury Gallery will serve a purpose - as a huge venue for temporary exhibitions. 

Admittedly, it is designed in the fashionable aircraft hangar/supermarket style - one huge, unadorned room, not a patch on the beauty of the V & A's classical Victorian galleries upstairs. But that won't matter so much when the gallery is filled with a lovely exhibition - like its first show, on the history of opera, in September. 

Above ground, an ingenious new entrance into the museum has been punched through Aston Webb's delicate, classical, Edwardian screen, leading into a charming, spacious piazza - formerly home to the museum's boilers. 

Suddenly, Exhibition Road will earn its name - with this fine new way into the museum's exhibitions. 

HARRY MOUNT, @mounth.