Prague 2016 | Plaster

The Whitworth Art Gallery

United KingdomUnited KingdomCompany Name: CW Solutions Ltd

Project description

Founded in 1889 as the first English gallery in a park, the Whitworth has been transformed by a £15 million development. Part of the University of Manchester, the Whitworth is a gallery that is a place of research and academic collaboration. ISG were the main contracts on this project, while MUMA Ltd was the principal architect. MUMA’s extension to the gallery and refurbishment of the existing 19th century building has sustainability at its heart. The refurbishment and extension of the historic Whitworth Art Gallery incorporated the use of two coat plaster on laths to form vaulted ceilings and curved walls. The scheme was completed over a two year period using over 4000 square metres of two coat plaster, alongside the use of specialised plasters for specific areas. The plastering and dry-lining works were completed over a 14 month period. This represented a real achievement particularly as the original ceiling had to be rebuilt, an unforeseen event in the works programme.


CW Solutions Ltd

CWS are a specialist contractor who specialise in drywall, plastering, partitions, ceilings, sfs and render. With 20 years experience at delivering small to large projects in the residential, housing, schools, and office fit out sectors of construction we are able to offer a professional project team that is committed to the requirements of each and every project we undertake. We are now CHAS/Constructionline health and safety accredited and we are currently working towards ISO 9001 management systems and PAS 2030 in the near future.

Excellent aesthetics
Thistle MultiFinish plaster- This versatile final coat plaster provides good results on most suction backgrounds.
Productivity gain
Thistle BondingCoat undercoat plaster – now even better, with a finer mix giving improved workability, making it easier to spread and smoother.

Key Achievements

  • Good relationship/cooperation existed within the team, the main contractor and British Gypsum, which meant this project was bought in on time and budget. This was challenging due to conservation pressures and the amount of repairs that had to be undertaken to the buildings original ceiling.
  • New solutions had to devised which appeased both the main contractor in terms of time and cost, but also the heritage/conservation bodies.
  • Installation of new lighting troughs considerably improved the exhibiting areas and visitor experience.

Key Challenges

  • Working to tight deadlines meant new ‘BB Lath’ solutions had to be found and agreed with the main contractor and conservation/heritage bodies.
  • Working with the main contractor’s guidance to ensure all mouldings and plastering were completed within budget and on times was challenging due to the poor state of the original ceiling.
  • Managing off site production of moulding proved challenging once moulds had been taken.
  • Completing the undercoat and skim plaster stages proved hard due to tight spaces in the ceiling areas.


Building owner:
The University of Manchester
MUMA LLP (McInnes Usher McKnight Architects)
Main contractor:
Steve Baker
Saint-Gobain Team:
Paul Grundy – British Gypsum – Area Sales Manager