4th July 2022

Perega Delivers Safe Solution for Windrush Memorial

Windrush Day is a national cultural appreciation day that’s been celebrated, with government funding, every year since June 2019. Highlighting the importance of The Commonwealth, the event marks the first arrival of Afro-Caribbean immigrants to Britain in 1948 and the estimated half a million people who made their way to England after the Second World War, as well as honoring the British Caribbean community.

In advance of this year’s iteration, the UK Government commissioned a striking new monument to celebrate the Windrush generation, which was unveiled at a special ceremony on June 22nd 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.

Windrush memorial unveiling at Waterloo station

Designed by renowned Jamaican sculptor Basil Watson, Perega 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.

Perega’s 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 Perega’s 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.

Perega’s 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 Perega 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.

Windrush memorial at Waterloo station

Associate, Rob Parsell, who was involved in the project, says: “This monument is of immense cultural significance, so to be actively involved in its delivery is an honour and a privilege.”

“It presented some unique challenges, particularly due to its location on a high footfall concourse in one of the UK’s largest and busiest train stations. One of the main roles of structural engineers is to ensure public safety, which is why our delivery of the final design review was so crucial.

“Our recommendations to adapt the balustrade ensure that commuters and tourists can enjoy this monument, without visual compromise or risk to their safety.”

Visit Perega’s “Glass and Facade Engineering Services” page to learn more.