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24 April 2012

Jubilee 2012 - The Cutty Sark

Tomorrow as part of HM’s Jubilee 2012, the Queen will officially re-open the Cutty Sark to the public, nearly five years after it was gutted by a fire.
An industrial vacuum cleaner which was left switched on led to the fire,  causing damage estimated at £10m.

At the time the cost of continuing the restoration project was questioned, as people thought the conservation team would literally have to re-build the whole ship.
Luckily, however, large sections of the boat had already been removed and put into storage, and fire-fighters did a remarkable job to save as much of the ship's original fabric. If a large percentage had been destroyed the ship would only have become a mock version of its original true self.

Grimshaw Architects have designed a new dry dock for the restored ship, raising it  3.3m up into the air revealing the hull and allowing visitors to walk underneath for the first time.

The design to me looks slightly watered down when compared to original concept visuals, which show the boat floating on a web of glazing and steel supports, all connected at the ship's waterline to give it the illusion of being back at sea cutting through the waves. Now the steel structure and glazing have been separated and the new enveloping glass canopy looks a bit like a greenhouse from outside. This may have been down to the structural stability and to provide a cost effective approach, as the budget had become very tight after the fire.

However, the internal shots from below the hull do look fantastic and are much more reminiscent of the original dry dock locations the boat has frequented.
In total, the restoration has cost more than £50m so lets hope she's well looked after from her on in.

Images courtesy of Google images

Architecture and Design


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