Introducing three articles from events held by Architecture Today in partnership with waterproofing specialist RIW


Subterranean City 1: Waterproofing Complex Basements
Alex Massingham, UK Technical Lead at RIW, explains the bespoke nature of waterproofing basement structures
Subterranean City 2: Expanding Institutions
In recent projects the British Museum, the Victoria & Albert Museum and University College London have dug deep to make the most of their campuses
Subterranean City 3: Dealing with Neighbours
Encountering restrictions both below and above ground at the Francis Crick Institute and the House in a Garden

In May 2019 Architecture Today in partnership with waterproofing specialist RIW held two conferences that addressed some of the particular challenges that arise when creating extensive basement space: discovering and dealing with what else is underground, introducing light and air, and protecting neighbouring buildings and infrastructure during construction.  At ‘Building on Building: Unlocking the Value of Awkward Sites’ and ‘How Low Can You Go: Making Distinctive and Enjoyable Spaces for Underground Living, Working and Learning’ speakers from architectural practices and engineering companies related their experiences from building on constrained London sites and Alex Massingham of RIW used a number of case studies to illustrate different waterproofing solutions on several basement structures.

In three related articles, the first is by Alex Masssingham of RIW on waterproofing complex basements. The next covers synopses of the presentations by John McElgunn of Rogers Stirk Harbour &  Partners on ‘Maximising the Last Available Site at the British Museum’,  Alice Dietsch of AL_A and Alice Blair of Arup on ‘Subterranean Spaces: Digging Deep at the V&A’ and David Tompson of Nicholas Hare Architects on ‘UCL Student Centre: An Inspiring Student Workplace in Bloomsbury’. The final article presents highlights of the talks by Wayne McKiernan of PLP and Rob Partridge of AKTII on ‘Underpinning Scientific Discovery – The Francis Crick Institute’  and Gianni Botsford of Gianni Botsford Architects on ‘Local Adaptation: House in a Garden’.

As John McElgunn of Rogers Stirk Harbour & Partners said in the introduction to his presentation, “We talk all the time about the densification of London and how important it is to develop all the sites we have. There are currently some 2200 hectares of land in London that currently has planning but hasn’t yet been developed – about eight times the size of Central Park in New York. The opportunity to maximise these backland or infill sites is really important.”.