Located on the north side of Trafalgar Square, the National Gallery is the most relevant art museum in London and one of the most famous worldwide. They currently employ approximately 250 staff involved in a wide range of activities including Conservation and Research, Scientific, Curatorial, Registrars, Finance, IS, HR,Education, Building & Facilities, Creative and Communications.
Currently, the majority of office-based staff are located within a separate building situated to the east of the main gallery. This produces several inefficiencies for the National Gallery operations and so the decision was made to place all staff in one location. To achieve this, our scope of works includes:
• Re-organisation of existing spaces at ground floor level with two new office towers constructed within the Sunley Lightwell and the Belvedere Lightwell.
• Creation of two new covered atria within the lightwells to create office space, informal meeting rooms, flooded with daylight for social interaction.
• Removal of partitioning and lowered ceilings throughout the ground floor central area to reinstate the original floor plan and create a large open space with high ceilings.
• Re-organisation of basement areas to accommodate meeting spaces and storage and ancillary accommodation associated with the ground floor offices, further freeing up space to the main floors.
The works also consist of refurbishing Gallery 32. The walls are to be recovered with an appropriate fabric befitting such a grand room and the plaster work of the cornice and coving will be gilded and decorated with polychromatic work to emulate the original details, together with new timber and stone flooring. The existing mechanical and electrical systems will be replaced, and all works are to maintain the heritage aspects of the building.
De-Group Contracting have overcome many challenges on this project, the main one being the Gallery staying open throughout the works which places major constraints on noise and vibration. Keeping vibration levels to within set limits is a major challenge,the Gallery houses many priceless paintings, which are hung on walls adjacent to where works are taking place. We remain in constant communication with the gallery regarding vibration levels and test all methods of working in each area prior to carrying out the works.
Deliveries of materials and disposal of waste and arisings also need to be carefully coordinated with the client as there are strict security measures in place, as well as a very limited area to load and unload. Therefore, all goods must be pre-booked in at a specific time and date with many deliveries booked out of hours to reduce congestion.