Meet the Finalists

2022 | Public & Leisure

Sponsored by
Mital Patel MCIOB
Willmott Dixon Interiors

The National Gallery, London WC2: refurbishment of grade I-listed art gallery and infilling of courtyards to create offices, completed in 121 weeks. 

Client: National Gallery 

Contract: JCT 

Value: £20m 

About the Project

The National Gallery, London WC2

There is a hint of the magical portal about Mital Patel’s refurbishment of one of the key galleries in this grade I-listed building. To keep dust and noise from seeping out of the works at the heart of the building into the live venue, site operatives had to enter and exit the gallery through an airlock. They then went into a pod to change from their normal to their work clothes – and back from work to normal before leaving the chamber. 

It was all part of a detailed planning approach that extended to installing a network of vibration sensors, acoustic hoardings, and bored rather than driven piling for the office construction in the courtyards. The airlock tunnel was also a better solution than the original plan for moving labour and materials in and out through the gallery’s glass roof. 

Mital’s cost-effective risk mitigation included substituting precast planks with poured concrete floor plates for the new office space. It avoided bringing in mobile cranes and lifting slabs over the building and into the space. 

His success in restricting noise, vibration and dust to the works areas undoubtedly reconciled client and user to the works. Set against that low-impact implementation has been the stunning outcome of the recovery of the gallery’s original stencilled and gilded decoration. Mital did not just completely reinstate the 1876 design, but also installed air conditioning, new floors and wall fabrics, and improved lighting. 

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