Every once in a while I find a building that truly inspires me. A building where the details, views, and texture just seem to pounce at the camera providing me with a wonderful range of photos that I can look at and say that they capture the true feeling of the place. The Cutty Sark Museum was just that.
Designed and built by Grimshaw Architects, the museum was completed at the end of April 2012. It was a restoration project that began in 2006 with the aim of restoring the clipper ship named Cutty Sark to its former glory and allowing people to see a piece of British naval history.
In May of 2007 a fire, thought to be started by a failed piece of equipment, caused severe damage to the ship and the surrounding area. Luckily a lot of the dismantled ship had been taken off site to be worked on. It was at this point that plans were made to raise the ship an extra three meters and construct a glass building around its hull.
This new modern glass structure has come under scrutiny by some critics and enthusiasts of the Cutty Sark for the fact that it has ruined ‘her lines’ and diminished her true glory. Particularly hated is the introduction of a new staircase and elevator shaft that has been built through her hull up to her deck, which was necessary due to today’s regulations on public buildings. A perfect example of battles between building regulations, fire regulations, and preservation regulations, however a topic for discussion for another time.
I personally found the building to be a wonderful addition to the ship. With the ship sitting on top of the glass structure it almost seems to be sailing through a sea of glass allowing you to see what she would have looked like if she were floating in a dock. It also allows spectacular views from beneath the hull and gives you the feeling of being beneath the water surface looking up, with the glass framework and golden brass hull creating a surreal shimmering effect.
If you are a fan of naval history and ever find yourself in London, this is a must see!
Tip: Book your tickets in advance to avoid long wait times here