V&A Museum


Wates Construction have appointed VolkerLaser as a specialist subcontractor to assist in the creation of a three-storey basement at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

Working at the world’s leading museum of art and design

The external structure of the new area has been formed from contiguous piling that has been shotcreted. In plan, this piled area has an ‘L’ shape, with the soil within the structure excavated to create the necessary space, and the piling forming the walls. The end result will be a new entrance, courtyard and purpose-built subterranean gallery for temporary exhibitions – showcasing the best of contemporary design as well as the beauty of the V&A’s existing structure.

The project was a testament to VolkerLaser's logistical expertise; working in a completely underground site with space at a premium. Co-ordinating with a variety of trades, storage around the building was also difficult to schedule.

Creating a number of public spaces inside and outside the museum, and ‘opening up the relationship’ between the V&A, the Science Museum and the Natural History Museum – VolkerLaser's works will allow a fluid transition between the different sites.

Legacy in London

The handprints of some of our operatives have been captured as part of the ‘Helping Hands’ exhibition, leaving a lasting legacy for VolkerLaser.

Specialist waterproofing works

The entire internal facing was coated with a thin anti-lime fluid with strengthening and hydrophobic properties. Many of the wall areas in the building were then waterproofed using the well-established Delta MS500. This cavity drain membrane can be used on walls, floors and vaulted ceilings, above and below ground level, in new construction or refurbishment work. Other internal walls within the structure were applied with a mineral coating containing crystallising and capillary-plugging agents. It can be used for waterproofing against ground moisture, non-pressurised and pressurised water. For the floors, MS20 has been employed. This is a compression-resistant, durable dimpled sheet made from special high density polyethylene, and is suitable for use as damp proofing on walls, floors and vaulted ceilings.

Facts and figures

  • Client
    Wates Construction
  • Value
  • Duration
    August 2015 – March 2016
  • Project categories

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