Project Description

Imperial War Museum Gallery

300 precast concrete components erected within exhibition hall

The Imperial War Museum in London reopened in time for the World War 1 centenary commemorations following a major £40 million refurbishment helped by PCE.

Images 1, 3 and 4 © IWM

Round-the-clock working in 24 hour shifts by PCE’s construction team during the project contributed to a totally new look for the interior of the museum with the addition of new precast concrete galleries designed to resemble the wings of aircraft.

50mm clearances

The existing floor of the exhibition hall was removed to create added height within the building, allowing for the concrete panels weighing up to five tonnes to be manoeuvred from the exterior by forklift before being lifted into place using a 25 tonne mobile crane, operating with clearances down to just 50mm from the existing glass atrium.

All units had to be underslung and fed around steel.

PCE’s team worked from a gantry using chains and blocks to undersling the units and attach each one to a steel framework using mechanical fixings.

The design uses a series of cheek panels and “fin” units to echo the appearance of aircraft wings, forming new exhibition “clusters” over four floors housing 400 exhibits and providing a fitting backdrop to the main display of 20th century fighter aircraft, “doodle bugs” and rockets.

Further information

Precast hybrid structures for Education / Schools »

Foster + Partners case study »

BBC video – Look at Imperial War Museum’s makeover »

Location: London, UK

Client: Imperial War Museum, London

Architect: Foster + Partners

Main Contractor: Techrete UK

PCE carried out a logistically complex operation to erect almost 300 precast concrete components within the existing structure of the main hall.