One thing that the industrial revolution changed in the world for better or for worse was the explosion in scale everything from the buildings we live and work in to the vehicles that move us. Without a doubt, the massive ships that put European backwaters on track to become the economic powerhouses they are today fall firmly within this category. One of the most famous, the Cutty Sark, has been put on display in Greenwich in all its glory.
The Cutty Sark is a clipper that was originally used in the lucrative tea trade. It’s been out of service since 1954 and Grimshaw Architects was chosen create a suitable home for it near the Olympic Equestrian Center in England. A steel and glass lattice atrium was created to act as a gallery for artifacts of the Cutty Sark’s history. The ship has been suspended within this atrium at more or less the water level and so from the outside it looks like it’s cresting a wave. This allows for an awe-inspiring view of the ship from below, as if the viewer was a dolphin swimming along underwater. The spectacular brass cladding on the hull of the ship shines in the light filled gallery. The deck has been restored to its original red-stained elm along with all the other hardware. The comprehensive displays within the gallery and on deck mean that not only can you ogle at the ships stunning craftsmanship, but brush up on your history.
By simply (at least in concept if not engineering) suspending the Cutty Sark halfway within an atrium, Grimshaw architects have brought the ship to life, showcasing a marvel of history.