Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
Cutty Sark in London, England by Grimshaw
May 16th, 2012 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: Grimshaw
Cutty Sark epitomises the great age of sail; she is the last surviving tea clipper. Her remarkable story is tangible evidence of the centuries long importance of sea-trade to this country and to the growth of London as the world’s pre-eminent port and trading centre. Built as a tea clipper, where speed to market was critical, it is the combination of sail and hull form which gave Cutty Sark her edge. The hull shape is defined by the revolutionary 19th century composite iron and timber shipbuilding technique.
A comprehensive programme of conservation began on Cutty Sark in 2004, which saw the biggest overhaul of the Grade I listed landmark for 50 years with the ship’s reopening planned to take place in 2009. The project was brought to a dramatic halt when a fire in 2007 swept through the wooden structure, causing extensive damage to the centre of the ship. The disaster caught the public’s interest and initiated a major fundraising campaign, enabling the project not only to be resumed at the end of 2009 but to an enhanced design brief.
The new design proposed raising the 963 tonnes Cutty Sark three metres within the dry berth. The dry berth was created in the 1950s, and purpose built in mass concrete on a former bomb site to house Cutty Sark when she was brought to Greenwich from Shadwell Basin. The ship was floated down the Thames, and manoeuvred into the berth before the end was sealed and the water drained to allow her to rest on the berth’s floor. In order to deliver this new conservation solution, within the constraints of the dry berth, it demanded that the new interventions had to respect, repair and adapt to the original fabric of the ship.
The conservation and repair of historic vessels on this scale is a rare occurrence. Everyone involved in this project has been on a unique journey and the knowledge that has been amassed will ensure that the future guardians of Cutty Sark are better prepared to continue her conservation in the future. Works have been completed for The Queen’s Jubilee in 2012, as a gift from the Duke of Edinburgh. It is hoped Cutty Sark’s innovative design and triumph of engineering will set a new benchmark of how historic ships are preserved from now on.
All of the salt induced corrosion of the iron frame, which in the past has threatened to close the ship has been painstakingly removed and the original conserved ironwork is identified by the white painted vertical ribs, horizontal keelsons, deck beams above and their supporting posts. In contrast, all new strengthening steelwork is painted grey.
Category: Public Art
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