Amanda Levete's dazzling new porcelain piazza brilliantly reunites the museum with the Kensington streets. But the giant new jewellery box of a gallery lurking below ground is the real star of the show
A blinding sheet of white light bursts through the stone colonnade of the V&A, casting a glow across the grey paving stones of Exhibition Road. Catching the sunlight on its 11,000 handmade porcelain tiles, the museum's new courtyard seems to burn with a molten luminosity, signalling the climax of its most ambitious building project in a century.
“Our aim was to bring the city into the museum and take the museum out on to the street,” says architect Amanda Levete, standing in the centre of her dazzling white piazza, behind a pair of big black sunglasses. “We saw it as an urban project as much as a cultural project.”