The Cutty Sark

Structural Designer

Buro Happold

Client Name

The Cutty Sark Trust

Location

London, United Kingdom

Images: © Jim Stephenson; Grimshaw; Buro Happold

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

The Cutty Sark Conservation Project has preserved the last remaining tea clipper and turned her into a “new event venue”.  The wrought iron structure of the hull was sagging after many years of unnatural support on the keel, and so the team decided to raise the ship 11ft into the air and hang her from just above the waterline. The diagonal strutting needed to achieve this raised height necessitated new steelwork throughout the ship, and put considerable lateral force on the walls of the dry dock, which had to be strengthened. This effective reconstruction of the ship involved complex structural analysis and detailing and very careful construction, which not only conserved this historical ship, but secured her future.

Judge's comment:

The very complex structural repairs of the Cutty Sark, verging on reconstruction, were needed to raise and re-support her on a system of diagonal steel struts thrusting against the wall of the dry dock, which had to be strengthened to take the forces.  This extraordinary work needed some exceptional engineering.