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Sunday, 6 May, 2001, 11:44 GMT 12:44 UK
V&A extension postponed
The V&A extension
The extension is not deemed top priority
The architect behind the Victoria and Albert Museum's controversial spiral extension, costing 80m, has been asked to reduce the cost of the project.

German architect Daniel Libeskind must has been told the extension is not top priority, and that it may be delayed while other work is done.


Libeskind: Making plans more "cost-effective"
The museum must focus on its new 31m British galleries - for which it must still find 4m - and a refurbishment, according to the Sunday Times newspaper.

It recently announced that entry fees will be scrapped from November - a move encouraged by the government, who will compensate the venue for loss of revenue.

The extension's modern style had been criticised by some for clashing with the more traditional existing buildings.

'Competitive figure'

But the V&A's chairman said the spiral will not be scrapped - but described the sums of money involved as "frightening".

"I'm working to make it more cost-effective," Mr Libeskind told the newspaper.

"We have come up with a very competitive figure, and a design which is a natural evolution."

V&A
The V&A is trying to shake off its "dusty" image
The cost-cutting will mean underground rooms are scrapped.

The extension was to consist of 11 floors of new galleries, restaurants as well as educational and interactive facilities. It was due to open by 2005.

An anonymous donation of 20m was given towards the project in 1999 - but that left a further 60m to find.

The museum's British galleries are due to open on 22 November and will provide the world's most comprehensive collection of British design.

Entry fees - which currently run at 5 for adults - will be scrapped on the same day.

'Dusty'

And the museum also plans to refurbish its interior, which is put at a cost of 30-40m. They will get no lottery money for the refurbishment or the extension.

Earlier this year, the museum announced it wanted to re-brand itself to get away from its "dusty" image.

Mr Libeskind is also in charge of new designs for Berlin's Jewish Museum and the Imperial War Museum North in Salford.

His design for the Imperial War Museum North had similar problems - he had to cut the cost down from 42m to 28m.

It will open in 2002, with Berlin's Jewish Museum to open its doors in September.

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See also:

22 Feb 01 | Entertainment
V&A plans new image
22 Apr 99 | Entertainment
20m for V&A extension
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