Dezeen Magazine

Cutty Sark by Grimshaw

Critics trash Grimshaw's Cutty Sark restoration

The restoration of historic tea clipper the Cutty Sark in London by Grimshaw architects has been derided by architecture critics and conservation experts after being officially reopened by the Queen yesterday. Here's a round up of what people are saying.

Writing in The Guardian, Steve Rose says the decision to sit the ship on a glass plinth has resulted in the impression that: "It's no longer a ship, nor quite a building, but some bizarre hybrid of the two." He claims that the experience improves once inside though. "There's something bracing about standing 'underwater' and looking up along the ship's copper-lined keel."

The Telegraph reports that conservation groups are upset that Grimshaw's intervention obscures the lines of the ship's hull, quoting sailor and architect Julian Harrap who said: "Why on earth hoick it up into the air? Why do you have to put these bloody great beams right through the middle of it, to damage the fabric of it?"

Over on Twitter, Building Design editor Amanda Baillieu asks, "Would it have been a nobler end if the Cutty Sark had sunk?", while the Sunday Times architecture critic Hugh Pearman said, "Haven't been there yet but does restored Cutty Sark looks like a ship half-in, half-out, of a bottle?".

Meanwhile, the BBC reported that Cutty Sark director Richard Doughty defended the renovation, claiming the solution creates "a very different experience, offering a light environment in the Cutty Sark's new elevated position."

See our previous story about the Cutty Sark here, all of our stories about Grimshaw here and lots of stories about boats here.