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Scottish National Gallery

Supporting the Scottish National Gallery Revamp

  • AHF Construction Management

  • Edinburgh

  • ProtectaWeb

The Scottish National Gallery in Edinburgh has been home to a hugely prestigious, multi-million-pound transformation project. The gallery, which houses Scotland’s national collection of fine art in the heart of a World Heritage site, has been the scene of an ongoing major revamp. Plans included the creation of new exhibition spaces, an entrance in East Princes Street Gardens, a cafe and an extensive sandstone terrace, as well as the landscaping involved.

We were asked to provide technical advice on dealing with the topsoil erosion control needed as part of new landscaping and paths in the gallery’s grounds, home to many events throughout the year.

The project will create a beautiful new space in the heart of Edinburgh, which will be free for everyone to use and enjoy. Extensive new landscaping in the gardens will radically improve access to this much-loved part of the city.

Trustees

Scottish National Gallery

We were called in by AHF Construction Management to give our expert opinion on the best topsoil erosion control system to install in the undulating, steep slopes of the grounds, giving protection and stability, in early 2020.

Our business and technical manager for geosynthetics, Shahid Raza, said: “The land is sandwiched between the Edinburgh Waverley train station and Princes Street, next to the Scott Monument, and is an unusual site in terms of how it was developed - there were very different levels, which made it difficult for them to set out.

“The footpaths had been deteriorating, the slopes weren’t oriented and not all of the necessary ramps were in place, meaning that access through the site was quite difficult. The entire plot needed to be landscaped so that it could have disabled access throughout - and it had to be sufficiently developed for emergency access too.

“The space at the bottom of the slope is used for a number of big shows and events, such as firework displays and the Christmas market. It’s a very well-used site that is popular with locals and visitors and so it is important to have the best erosion control.”

It was decided that our best recommendation was to use the high-quality ProtectaWeb slope stabilisation system to provide strength and flexibility. The cellular confinement system is a mechanical erosion barrier that preserves the soil structure, while minimising the impact of surface run-off.

"The web system we suggested is supplied in a pack that concertinas out, so it was ideal for a difficult and inaccessible location. We attended the site at short notice to give installation advice as there had been some difficulties in dealing with the topsoil thickness, proving the flexibility of the service we offer."

All of the slopes had already been reinforced, but we gave technical advice on the most appropriate cellular confinement system for the topsoil and then an erosion control mesh that sat on the face before they did all the topsoiling and planting.

Shahid Raza

Geoworks

Scottish National Gallery

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