The brief required a controlled dehumidified environment in the dry dock and ship to stabilise the corrosion of the iron hull. We worked closely with the SS Great Britain Trust and Cardiff University which conducted research and analysis of preventative conservation conditions for the iron structure. We then used detailed computer modelling analysis to achieve an environmental solution that would primarily conserve the ship, but also allow comfortable conditions for visitor access.
As requested by the trust’s design brief, a layer of water flowing across the surrounding glass plate gives the impression that the ship is afloat. It also functions as a thermal jacket for the dry dock environment below, reducing the effects of the ambient environment on the conserved space. Low-energy cooling was provided by using water direct from the adjoining harbour.
The successful solution was delivered within budget and programme, leading to an ongoing involvement with the SS Great Britain Trust on a variety of projects in subsequent years.