The Tower of London stands as a remarkable historic monument in its own right with many different aspects of its past playing a major role in British history. Its rich tapestry encompasses tales of mystery, betrayal, and the solemn echoes of past executions, along with the most amazing display of royal jewelry.
The Jewel House at the Tower of London holds an esteemed global reputation for housing the crown jewels. Within this distinguished display, visitors can marvel at an astounding collection of 23,500 precious jewels set into some of the most iconic regalia.
Included in this collection are crowns worn by previous monarchs and members of the royal family, ceremonial maces and swords, as well as costumes used in the recent coronation.
Meyvaert was tasked with the development and construction of 10 ultra-high security showcases specifically designed for safeguarding the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom. One of the most significant challenges involved respecting the design intent whilst obtaining the highest level of security necessary for exhibiting these priceless jewels. An additional challenge was building the showcases in an extremely secure environment with very limited access.
The glass dimensions closely approached the maximum size permitted by the door sizes of the building, so the preparations and logistical challenges were considered carefully to ensure the safe delivery of all goods into the exhibition space without any damages.
Through extensive communication and collaborative development workshops with the Exhibition Designers Ralph Appelbaum Associates and Historic Royal Palaces during the design phase, we managed to harmoniously combine the strict security requirements with the design intent. Given the limited access routes into the Tower of London, we constructed the showcases within the galleries themselves. This endeavor involved meticulous coordination with several partners to get all the necessary materials inside before the actual construction could commence.
Once inside the jewel house, the assembly process proceeded seamlessly. The finished project is a major achievement thanks to the smooth collaboration with our partners, the excellent performance of our team involved, and flawless execution of the works.
The cladding of the cases was carefully crafted using a specially developed GRC finish, diligently chosen to complement the hand-patinated bronze finish of the metalwork both inside and outside the display volume. The GRC gives the cases an appearance of permanence and belonging in this city fortress. The patinated bronzed steel offers great security benefits, whilst exuding a grand, regal, and stately aesthetic.
The cases are crowned with a metal work frame to elevate them and give them added presence. Our challenge to design and construct these very impressive structures, whilst maximising all aspects of security, has been fully realised. Moreover, we succeeded in balancing the need for subtle lighting with the paramount goal of illuminating the jewels and objects in all their splendor and revealing their full majesty. Simultaneously, we ensured the creation of highly secure display environments with extremely low air exchange rates, further preserving the precious contents within.
The client team’s feedback has been exceedingly positive, and we take great pride in our contribution to such a prestigious project.
© Historic Royal Palaces
Jewel House - Tower of London
Ralph Appelbaum Associates (RAA)
10 high-security showcases
© Historic Royal Palaces