New projects at Chatham Maritime

I have been working on different schemes at Chatham Maritime since the 1990’s and I’m delighted to be able to report that we have been commissioned for two new projects there. During a recent site visit I was asked why the Dockside Retail Centre, the DickensWorld building and the Odeon Cinema take the built forms they do and I was able to explain that their design owes a great deal to the influence of the Medway Tunnel.

The Medway Tunnel is the first immersed tube tunnel to be built in England. It was built in three pieces cast in a great excavation that formed a casting basin.  600,000 tonnes of earth were excavated to create a hole that was 300 metres long, 150 metres wide and 15 metres deep. with a volume of 400,000 cubic metres.This was kept dry by a cofferdam  (in effect a sheet pile wall) between it and the river  Three giant tunnel sections were cast in the excavation and when they were ready it was flooded with 50,000,000 gallons of water and the tunnel floated into place.

Large cables were stretched across the river from the west bank to pull the sections into place across the river bed,

The work was started in May 1992 and the Medway Tunnel was opened by the Princess Royal on 12 June 1996.

The photograph below shows the site with the casting basin full of water.and the following photograph has superimposed on it in red my design outline of the Chatham Maritime leisure complex. It shows how we were able to site the building on land that was not part of the excavation.