Sisk completes redevelopment & restoration of London’s Royal Academy of Arts

John Sisk & Son (Sisk) has announced that it has completed a major redevelopment and restoration of London’s iconic Royal Academy of Arts.

Sisk delivered this high-profile project for the Royal Academy’s 250th anniversary having commenced building works in October 2015, creating a link between Burlington House and Burlington Gardens, uniting the two-acre campus for the first time in its history.

Works included installing the largest temporary roof structure in London to enable the careful conservation of the Burlington Gardens façade, along with the redevelopment of the interior to create new exhibition spaces, a Clore Learning Centre and Benjamin West Lecture Theatre. Along with the internal works, the Burlington Gardens façade and its 22 statues have been returned to their former glory. This has resulted in a renewed and vibrant streetscape in this part of Mayfair.

Ajaz Shafi, Managing Director, John Sisk & Son – UK South, commented: “Sisk is delighted to have delivered the redevelopment and restoration of the Royal Academy of Arts. It has been a pleasure to work alongside our supply chain partners on such an iconic building. This prestigious project enabled us to combine the various skills within our group and provide real value for our client.”

Stephen Bowcott, CEO, John Sisk & Son, said: “As an innovative, international, engineering and construction company, John Sisk & Son is proud to have safely delivered such a large, complex and multidisciplinary project. Now that this iconic building has been redeveloped and restored in time for its 250th anniversary, I am sure it will be enjoyed by many more visitors over the next 250 years and beyond.”

The Royal Academy of Arts restoration and redevelopment was a high profile and uniquely complex scheme, combining the challenge of delivering exceptionally high quality exposed concrete and interior finishes, with the complete deconstruction and re-instatement of the historically important British Academy Room and new facilities and galleries throughout.

The logistically complex site is split across two separate grade 2 listed buildings. It was planned for completion to coincide with the Academy’s 250th birthday in 2018. Critically the Royal Academy has remained open, hosting major exhibitions and running the RA Schools throughout construction. Sisk has minimised disruption for the RA, its audience and stakeholders in delivering this 20+ phase programme. Particularly important was the collaborative and solution oriented approach that the combined team took in managing the complexity of unknown elements that were uncovered during the course of construction whilst maintaining efficient progress towards the end date.

A key challenge of the works was integrating new construction alongside the preservation and restoration of the original features. The key to minimising impact was in Sisk’s innovative use of a combination of laser scanning and digital design modelling to virtually build the project before work began. The combination of innovative techniques used to build the project meant a far higher level of productivity in bringing the project to completion in time for the RA 250 celebrations.

The success of the project was also due to our longstanding and specialist supply chain partners who were integral to the delivery of the outstanding quality we have achieved on the project. A project of this nature demands the best skilled people that the industry has and in particular we have benefited from the contributions of Getjar, Paye, Deconstruct, Artisan, Designer Group, Atlantic Contracts and WB Simpson and our own Sisk Joinery Centre in Dublin. It is with great pleasure we look forward to the opening up of this fantastic project to the Royal Academy’s viewing public on Saturday 19th May 2018.