Major milestone for The Box as giant steel installed at topping out ceremony

Structural completion of The Box has been celebrated with a ‘Topping Out’ ceremony which saw the final steel work installed.

The milestone event for the building, which is now just 18 months away from opening to the public as part of Plymouth’s Mayflower 400 commemorations, saw a giant piece of steel signed by attendees hoisted up to the top of the new extension – the ‘box in the sky’ that’s been created to house thousands of important records and documents from the city’s archives.

Plymouth City Council Leader, Tudor Evans said: “Plymouth’s on a real cultural journey and The Box is a major part of this. It’s a fantastic thing that we should all be proud of – in 2020 it’s going to be the biggest attraction of its kind opening in the UK! Loads of people are working really hard on it so today was a moment for us to celebrate that. We’ve reached the highest point of the building and it’s really exciting.”

Rob Woolcock, Director of Willmott Dixon who are constructing the building, said: “Today was about celebrating the people behind this project. From our supply chain partners to our local apprentices, the commitment and passion of everyone involved is clear to see. We know how important The Box is for the City of Plymouth, and we are immensely proud to be part of creating this new cultural centre for the city. I personally cannot wait to see the finished building.”

Great progress has been made both on and offsite since the foundation stone was laid in the spring. On the building front, the concrete frame, cladding and rendering works have been completed. Behind the scenes, there have been further developments with The Box’s new permanent galleries, exhibitions, artistic commissions and events programme.

The next phase in the project will see the scaffolding on St Luke’s Church and the North Hill side of the former Museum and Art Gallery and Central Library buildings taken down. The installation of the curtain walling, or outer covering, to the new front entrance on Tavistock Place will also begin.

Councillor Ian Bowyer, Shadow Leader said: “Today’s ceremony is a reminder of the wide range of skills and partnership working needed for a huge development like The Box, and another really important milestone for the project. Now the structural work is complete and the building is taking shape in front of our eyes it’s also a reminder that we’re another step closer to opening.”

The Box is being designed by award-winning architects Atkins, representatives of whom were also at the Topping Out event.

James Harrison, Design Director, SNC-Lavalin’s Atkins business, said: “Our designs for The Box are about celebrating the past while engaging a 21st century audience. We’re excited to see our concept design brought to life in construction, and for Plymouth to be getting state of the art facilities that celebrate its rich history.”

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