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Royal Academy of Arts (RAA), London

CASE STUDY

This project combined the challenges of delivering high-quality finishes and the restoration of a Grade II* listed building

The New RA connects its historic home of Burlington House with Burlington Gardens

In order to create one unified, expanded RA facility, the project involved connecting the RA’s historic home of Burlington House to its neighbouring property, 6 Burlington Gardens, and transforming the latter building into a new suite of gallery spaces, offices, public areas, cafés, shops and a lecture theatre.

The public route that connects the two buildings now takes in the newly refurbished Octagon Corridor, bisects the basement teaching spaces, then rises through an enclosed concrete link bridge.

The Weston Bridge

The Weston Bridge

"Sisk delivered this high-profile project for the Royal Academy’s 250th anniversary having commenced building works in October 2015, creating a link between Burlington House and 6 Burlington Gardens, uniting the two-acre campus for the first time in its history."

Irish Building Magazine

The lowering of the ground in The Vaults had to be taken without mechanical excavators

Facade restoration works

Along with the internal works, a number of restorations have been made to the front of the building, with 26 statues on the façade of 6 Burlington Gardens returned to their former glory.

A high quality exterior finish was achieved thanks to the use of a silica spray which we sourced through our specialist supply chain partners. Once carefully applied, this spray removed dirt without compromising any stonework details.

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Unsurprisingly for a project of this nature, our change management strategy was always going to be fundamental to its success. Thanks to our team’s efficient approach to dealing with what transpired to be an almost-constant stream of unexpected discoveries, over 700 changes were successfully managed without any detrimental effect to the project’s overall timelines. Given that sheer volume alone, this was an amazing achievement by all concerned.

The Haki roof sheets allowed materials to be dropped down by a tower crane

The Haki roof sheets allowed materials to be dropped down by a tower crane

Throughout our history, Sisk has delivered some of the most iconic and ground-breaking projects in the modern world

Technology

Our concrete sandwich wall technology helped to create a building envelope that maximises energy efficiency, durability and performance, all while regulating internal temperatures and humidity. In an England-based construction first, Thermomass® technology was also installed throughout the building.

Completing the project in time for 2018’s RA250 celebrations required both a large number of innovation techniques, and a particularly high level of productivity to ensure they all combined as intended.

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The RA’s art collection includes masterpieces worth millions of pounds, so minimising any impact or damage to their condition was a crucial factor throughout. Key to this was our innovative early use of laser scanning and digital design modelling to virtually build the project before work began.

Extensive brickwork repairs were undertaken

Stakeholder relations

To ensure our noise levels were always at acceptable levels, we undertook weekly high-level operational and logistical meetings with members of the local business and residential communities. We additionally engaged with these communities by circulating newsletters and mail drops containing relevant information, routes of access and invitations for questions / feedback.

The Queen visited the new Royal Academy in March 2018

Traditional methods of construction were used

Traditional methods of construction were used

Our global efforts have enabled us to transfer the world class talents and capabilities of our Irish and UK operations

Extensive repairs were carried out in the galleries

Extensive repairs were carried out in the galleries

"I am entirely grateful to John Sisk & Son and their many contractors and sub-contractors for the delivery of such a large and complex project in such a way that will remain a major ornament to the architectural fabric of Central London."

Sir Charles Saumarez Smith, CBE
Secretary and Chief Executive of the Royal Academy of Arts

Benjamin West Lecture Theatre

The Lecture Theatre

"We are delighted to celebrate our ambitious redevelopment with John Sisk & Son… The craftsmanship and professionalism shown from the entire Sisk team was evident throughout this project’s journey."

Christopher Le Brun
President of the Royal Academy of Arts

The toilet finishes comprise carrara marble walls and terazzo flooring

The toilet finishes comprise carrara marble walls and terazzo flooring

"From Burlington House, it is an illuminating journey through the bowels of the building that might shift people’s perceptions of the RA, from an ossuary of Academicians to a vital place where contemporary art is being made."

The Guardian (UK)

The double skin walls were formed using a bespoke solution

Irish Construction Excellence (ICE) Awards 2019

International category winner