Artiwaterproofing Triumphs in a Historical Challenge: The Restoration of the British Museum’s Tunnels

Water seeping into tunnels beneath a Grade 1 listed building is a conservator’s worst nightmare. When the iconic British Museum faced such a dilemma, they sought a solution that would not only address the present concerns but also provide lasting protection for the years to come. Enter Artiwaterproofing, a team known for its expertise in intricate waterproofing projects.

A Heritage Structure's Unique Challenge

The British Museum, an emblem of historical significance and architectural grandeur, houses treasures from across the globe. Beneath the King Edward VII Galleries lies a network of tunnels vital for the gallery’s air circulation system. However, these tunnels, designed over a century ago, began showing signs of water ingress, compromising the air quality and posing a potential risk to the invaluable artefacts.

Our Solution: A Mix of Tradition and Modernity

Partnering with Newton and collaborating with Nex Architecture, our team undertook the challenge with a nuanced approach. After ensuring the walls and floors were in immaculate condition, HydroCoat 107 Elastic 2K became our choice as the primary barrier against water. Known for its flexibility and robustness, this cement-based shield was precisely what the museum required.

Yet, that was just one piece of the puzzle. We recognised the need for a system that was both effective and respectful of the building’s historical nature. Implementing the Oldroyd Xtf membrane, we introduced a comprehensive Type C cavity drain membrane system. Widely accepted for listed structures due to its reversibility and minimal substrate impact, this system was a natural fit.

The Challenges: Not Just Technical, But Physical

Every project has its share of obstacles, and this was no exception. Our team grappled with the high humidity levels of the underground space. Additionally, the task of affixing a fire-resistant membrane in the limited confines of a tunnel is easier said than done. Factor in the pre-existing services that couldn’t be removed, and we had our work cut out for us.

A Happy Conclusion and A Look to the Future

Over ten weeks, our collaboration with Newton culminated in a system that’s not just waterproof and fire-resistant but also maintainable and reversible. The client’s satisfaction reaffirmed our commitment to excellence. As we look forward, Artiwaterproofing remains devoted to ensuring the system’s longevity with regular maintenance and servicing.

In closing, the British Museum project isn’t just a testament to our team’s expertise but also a reminder of the delicate balance between preserving history and embracing modern solutions. As we continue our journey, we’re humbled and invigorated by the challenges that lie ahead.