For this purpose, the ship was raised 3m above street level within the dry dock, creating an easily accessible area covered by a curved glass canopy, enabling visitors to walk around under the ship’s hull. The Cutty Sark stands out above the glass construction, just as it once rose above the waves as it sailed the high seas. Grimshaw Architects of London were responsible for the draft as well as for the design of the exhibition area that has been created in the lower levels.
At a 9° outward angle, the filigree glass canopy rises above the ground and then curves back towards the ship at a steep angle. Its height varies from 1.9m in the centre at the ship’s beam to around 2.9m at the bow and the stern, resulting in a multiple curved shape. The supporting structure consists of hollow steel sections bolted together via six-way nodes. The triangular insulated glass panes are attached to the substructure by non-visible point fixtures located in the space between the panes. A variation on this basic structure has been used on the angled sides of the canopy, which rise up from floor level and consist of 2m wide trapezoidal elements joined by five-way nodes accordingly.
Right from an early stage, seele was called in as consultant when planning the roughly 90m long and 20m wide curved glass canopy. seele developed a freeform lattice shell structure based on triangles with sides approximately 2m long.
Project images: © National Maritime Museum London, Jim Stephenson