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Windrush Memorial, Waterloo

Client: Prism Glass Limited

In 2022, the UK Government commissioned a striking new monument to celebrate the Windrush generation, which was unveiled at a special ceremony at Waterloo station. The monument is a sculpture depicting a man, woman, and child in their ‘Sunday best’, standing on top of a mountain of suitcases hand in hand, demonstrating the bond between the Windrush pioneers.

Designed by renowned Jamaican sculptor Basil Watson, our glass and façade team was approached to undertake a design review of the adjacent concourse balustrading ahead of the installation of the new sculpture within the station concourse, to guarantee the safety of the monument, and more importantly, the public.

Our work was critical in identifying a safety issue, whereby people could potentially stand on the monument’s plinth and be higher than the existing balustrade. This, and the sculpture’s positioning on the station’s upper concourse, created a potential hazard for commuters during rush hour, which would need to be mitigated.

Following our design review of the existing balustrade, it was decided that it would need to be altered, replacing 3 panels directly behind the new sculpture with new panels based upon an increased height from 1.1m up to 2.8m. The height increase was essential to reduce public risk while keeping within official design standards.

The new glazing was designed to match the thickness of the original laminated glass panels, which were a 12mm + 15mm heat-soaked toughened laminated glass, utilising a 1.52mm PVB interlayer. The new enhanced panels were then fixed into the original stainless steel base clamp detail, which was then tied back into the handrail.

With a tight deadline set in place, the whole process was delivered with Perega’s signature agility and dedication to quality, completing the review and delivering accurate calculations promptly.

Our involvement in the design of the original balustrade, originally installed in 2020, gave them an unrivalled understanding of the site’s specifics and was instrumental in delivering results in such a tight timeframe.

However, the project was not without a few minor challenges that arose following the review. The most obvious was the financial collapse of the sub-contractor originally commissioned to install the balustrading. This meant we had to step into the breach, working with the main contractor to complete and oversee the design, whilst ensuring that it was installed according to their calculations.