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“Oh dear. What a shame” — Praise for V&A, but scathing assessment of wider waterfront regeneration

There has been no shortage of praise for V&A Dundee following its opening this weekend, but what of the wider waterfront regeneration?

It, according to BBC arts editor Will Gompertz, is rather less successful.

In his review, Mr Gompertz heaps praise on the V&A itself, saying: “The V&A Dundee is terrific.

“I’ll go further, it is world class.

“The first purpose-built design museum in Scotland is itself an instant design classic.

“Nothing is perfect, but small niggles aside (the triangular walkway under the building creates a hurricane-effect wind-tunnel), Kengo Kuma’s building is close to being impeccable.”

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Yet, Mr Gompertz is less than convinced by work going on in the surrounding area, with a hugely controversial development opposite the museum and the railway station redevelopment receiving scathing criticism.

“(The museum) is framed by some of the ugliest modern buildings I’ve ever seen,” he said.

“With your sensibilities at their most aesthetically tuned after an hour or so in the museum you will be appalled by what confronts you (to the north).

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“The new railway station-hotel combo is ghastly.

The new Sleeperz hotel at Dundee railway station.

“As is the crass looking rectangular block being built to its side.

“There are, I am told, plans for more of the same in a £1 billion regeneration of Dundee’s Waterfront.

The emerging structure of the new building at Site Six in Dundee.

“Oh dear. What a shame. What a missed opportunity.”

“Cheap-and-cheerless eyesores”

Mr Gompertz clearly feels there has been a lack of foresight by those planning the wider development.

“Was there not a design tsar in place to oversee the city’s regeneration masterplan?” he asked.

“If not, why not? If there is one, what is he or she thinking?

“The new museum was always intended as the ‘jewel in the crown’, but that’s no reason to decorate the rest of it with tacky add-ons.

“Dundee had the foresight to invite a very good architect to build his first project in the UK on its waterfront.

“Why not extend the invitation and ask him to oversee a coherent design for the entire area before it’s too late, and his wonderful new building is rendered invisible by cheap-and-cheerless eyesores.”

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