V&A Booktower, London – Victoria & Albert

Victoria & Albert Booktower, Museum Architecture Design, Architects

V&A Booktower

London Museum Structure Project, UK – design by Rintala Eggertsson Architects

4 Aug 2010

V&A Booktower


Design: Rintala Eggertsson Architects


V & A Museum


V&A Museum Booktower
photo from architects

A wooden free-standing tower structure is placed in the Victoria & Albert Museum’s National Library staircase hall, lining with the existing pillars. The visitor is invited to choose an alternative, literature-filled descend towards the library. One is able to select an interesting book and withdraw to sit and read it in a peaceful one-person reading space in the core of the tower. Inside the reading space will be installed a reading light. This light will shine outwards through the structure, casting scattered light on the surrounding gallery walls, inviting readers like night lantern lures moths.

Each floor can have a different literate theme. The books are second-hand/ recycled/ would be otherwise destroyed, and will be collected from publishers, libraries and universities during 2009/2010. We suggest also that each visitor can take one book with so that the installation is stripped to a bare structure in the course of the exhibition, and people will have a lasting memory / souvenir of the work. This installation is made of wood, pre-cut in another location and installed on site.

V&A Booktower Victoria & Albert Museum Booktower V&A Book tower Victoria & Albert Booktower
photos from architects

Outside only white paper, wood as well, is shown of the books, creating a unified wall surface. Interior is a contrasting collage of colors, titles and themes. To learn of the contents of the books, one has to enter the tower.

Technical information
Client: Victoria & Albert Museum
Curator: Abraham Thomas
Project administration: Elizabeth Capon
Design team: Sami Rintala, Dagur Eggertsson and Vibeke Jenssen
Footprint area: 3,15 m x 3,15 m = 9,9 m2
Height: 7,75 m ( 3 floors )
Materials: Wood – 6,16 m3 ; Books – 6000 titles approx.

UPM Kymmene – wood materials
Norwegian Ministry of Foreign affairs / Norsk Form – travels
Luxo – lighting
Norwegian embassy in London – books
Dominic Winter Book Auctions – books
Richard Booth’s Bookshop – books
Vintage Books – books
Technical support: Dr. Techn Kristoffer Apeland A/S
Building team: Mats Odin Rustøy, Dagur Eggertsson, Sami Rintala, Pasi Aalto, Jon Gunnar Akason, Fabricio Fernandes, Harriet Brisley, Mathew Donnachie and Darius Wilson.
Additional help: Vibeke Jenssen, Kaori Watanabe, Naofumi Namba, Ruby Wilson, Molly Odhiambo, Laura Shouthall, Erland Flaterud and Anne Ulseth.
Presentation model: Per Sølvsberg
Photographs: Pasi Aalto
Text: Dagur Eggertsson / Sami Rintala

V&A Booktower images / information from Rintala Eggertsson Architects

Rintala Eggertsson Architects

Location:Victoria & Albert Museum, London, UK