An iconic Grade II Listed project
Founded during the First World War, the Imperial War Museum (IWM) in London is dedicated to conserving and giving voice to the experiences of real people whose lives have been devasted by conflict.
One of five Imperial War Museums, IWM London tells the stories of modern war, seen through the eyes of those who experienced it, and is the first museum in the world to bring together Second World War Galleries and The Holocaust Galleries under the same roof.
Situated on Lambeth Road in South London, the IWM is a Grade II Listed building with construction dating back to 1814. Initially built as a hospital, the building came into use as a museum in 1936 and is now home to over 1,300 objects.
With its copper-clad dome and naval guns, the IWM is one of the capital’s most iconic buildings and has been redeveloped and expanded over the years as the museum’s collections have grown.
In 2019, we were engaged by Main Contractor Buxton Building Contractors Ltd to install aluminium panels and profiles to a redundant window openings, that were no longer in use and would be bricked up internally; our scope was to replicate the existing panels on the façade using an invisible support fixture system and install CP board cladding to a fire stair.
The challenges of a heritage site
At Eden Facades, we like to work with suppliers that we know share our attention to detail on every job, and for this contract at IWM we worked closely with FC Architectural, a specialist fabricator with a focus on delivering a quality service.
Commenting on the project at IWM, Tharinda Rathnapala, Commercial Director at FC Architectural said: “Eden Facades approached us and explained that the project would require us to create some aluminium panels that would match the existing ones on the side of the building.
“As it was not an ‘off the shelf’ product, we worked with Eden to create several samples to present to the client and architect. At 2m x 2m, the panels were exceptionally large and so we needed to come up with a way to ensure the back of the panels would not bend. When it came to fixing the panels, normally we would weld stiffeners on the back of the material, which would lead to the front of the panels deforming slightly, but the nature of the project meant we needed to find another way to attach them. In the end, we used a structural bonding adhesive with spot welds to the rear of the panels for added structural stability.
“Through our good working relationship with Eden, we were able to work through various options and arrive at a solution that allowed us to meet the architect and the client’s requirements.”
Matt Green, Project Manager at Eden Facades, goes into more detail: “As a heritage building, and with existing panels in place which we needed to match, there were understandably very precise dimensions and requirements from the architect and client for the panel surround profiles. Anyone who has worked with us knows the pride we take in our attention to detail, and we knew we could rely on FC Architectural to deliver what was needed.”
“Not only did the new panels need to match the existing ones,” Matt continues, “we also needed to design an ‘invisible’ system that would allow the panels to be fixed from the outside, as the previous system was designed to work inwards, which once completed meant the panels could not be accessed for repair and maintenance, whereas the new ones we have installed can be removed for replacement and maintenance.”
Working with trusted partners
Now that the project is complete, Tharinda reflects on how he has found working with Eden Facades:
“I was first introduced to Matt when we worked together on the Berkeley Homes Central London West End Gate project, and we made a good team – Matt is easy to get on with and we were able to bounce ideas off each other.
“Eden Facades are very practical; they come up with good workable solutions and can clearly explain what is needed, we understand each other’s expectations. Everyone in the office and on site is very friendly, knowledgeable, and easy to work with.”
To find out more about this project, or to discuss a future cladding project with us, contact us on 01268 744199, or email firstname.lastname@example.org