Culture and heritage
Product / system manufacture
Product / system supply
Bespoke MultiDrain Brickslot
The 10-storey extension to the Tate Modern on London’s South Bank opened its doors to critical acclaim in 2016. Its unique geometric design posed a number of water management challenges.
“The Tate extension is quite unlike most other civil engineering projects we’ve worked on" said Nick Burchett, Regional Sales Engineer at ACO Technologies. “Firstly the building’s geometrical design means that the external walls intersect the ground at seven different angles. With a normal building, this angle would be 90 and the water can run down the wall and into the channel below. However, with the Tate extension, a standard Brickslot drainage channel system could not be used.”
The civil engineers, Ramboll, understood this issue at the outset, and approached ACO to find a way around the problem.
A bespoke linear channel drainage system was designed to suit the angled perimeter of the façade and to minimise both the risk of flooding and the impact to the existing downstream sewer system.
James Canney, Product Development Manager at ACO Technologies, oversaw the bespoke design process for the extension’s proposed solution. “In total seven sections needed to be developed, which translated to 17 bespoke products. Each one needed to be custom-engineered to match the varying angles of the building and provide discrete drainage from both the walls of the building and the surrounding surface, along with custom units for access and maintenance. Two of the seven drainage sections in particular posed significant challenges in the development, as the façade of the building face continued the slope underground, forcing the channel drainage away from the façade of the building. The original specification called for a vertical version of our MultiDrain Brickslot product, that would sit away from the façade of the building in these areas. To accommodate this, our team designed a hanger system to allow structural concrete to be filled and levelled between the channel and the wall in such a way that when the Brickslot tops were added, the system was fully supported and allowed the drainage section to follow the contours of the building. This was absolutely crucial to ensuring the aesthetic from the rest of the project was carried through these sections of drainage.”
Once the bespoke designs were approved, a total of 187m of custom-engineered MultiDrain Brickslot were manufactured by ACO at its facility in Shefford, Bedfordshire, and delivered to site before being installed by the contractors.
A further 550m of standard MultiDrain Brickslot were also supplied to the site with a view to being used throughout the Tate’s surrounding landscaped pedestrian area.
In areas where the Brickslot grating could not be used due to depth limitations, 20m of ACO’s specialist V300 MultiLine were also installed.
“Given the challenging and varied geometry of the Tate extension, we were extremely pleased to be able to create a fully bespoke water management system for one of the UK’s truly iconic buildings."
- Nick Burchett.