© Morley von Sternberg
© Morley von Sternberg
© Morley von Sternberg
© Morley von Sternberg
© Morley von Sternberg

National Maritime Museum – Sammy Ofer Wing

Refurbishment of a Grade I-listed wing of the National Maritime Museum was achieved within a tight timescale thanks to our lateral thinking. The solution allowed a 7 m-deep basement to be excavated just 1.5 m away from a historic building which was simultaneously being remodelled.

Designed by CF Møller Architects and Purcell, the Sammy Ofer Wing has doubled the floor space of the National Maritime Museum’s South-West Wing while also providing new facilities in an adjacent new-build extension.

The interior of the South-West Wing, originally constructed in 1876, now houses an archive and reading room. This was achieved by entirely replacing the existing internal structure while retaining the masonry façades.

The need to construct the adjacent new-build extension in tandem meant there was no space for supporting the façades using temporary external trusses. Instead, we proposed building the South-West Wing’s new four-storey internal structure around the ongoing construction. The façades could then be supported off the new structure once the old floors, beams and columns were removed.

Pad foundations were installed in the basement to support the new steel structure. Columns were then erected, designed to be small in section to allow easy installation, punching through existing floors. As the new structure rose, the façade was secured to it via resin-anchored fixings.

The existing structure was removed, and a concrete foundation raft was cast around the new column pads, chosen to minimise differential settlement of the new structure against the existing façades.

Meanwhile, a sheet-piled retaining wall was installed prior to excavation of the 70 m-long and 30 m-wide basement of the new extension.

This solution was extremely efficient as it removed the need for much of the temporary works. By allowing the concurrent construction of the new extension, it also reduced the overall project programme by several months.

Refurbishment of a Grade I-listed building and a glass basement extension

London, UK
National Maritime Museum
C.F. Møller Architects, Purcell
£ 36.5 million
7,300 m²

  • 2012 RIBA Regional Award
  • 2012 Civic Trust Awards – Commendation
  • 2012 NLA Awards – Commendation