The Royal College of Music

Case Study / Waterproofing 

Royal College of Music, London

Waterproofing five levels of the world famous music conservatoire.

The Royal College of Music

London’s Royal College of Music is one of the world’s greatest musical conservatoires for gifted musicians. Opened in 1883 by the future King Edward VII, the College recently underwent major renovations, incorporating advanced acoustic, air handling and climate control measures to allow even the most delicate and valuable intruments from the College museum to be played.

As part of the project, MacLennan designed and installed a waterproofing system that would deliver a completely dry environment in the vast basements that would become auditoriums, a library, an atrium, and music rooms.

All with specific and bespoke requirements.


building preservation services
Royal College of Music


MacLennan have previously dealt with some of the largest waterproofing projects in London, so were more than capable of providing a solution across 5 different basement and sub-basement levels on this project. To start,  crystalline waterproofing was applied to the structure to protect against the capillary movement of water.

Movement joints between the new and existing structure were also protected. In order to provide a guaranteed solution however, a full Cavity drain membrane System with various bespoke details was then installed throughout the internal spaces in order to safely capture and manage any ingressing water. All levels were also linked together with a fully maintainable drainage system, and no less than five heavy duty sump chambers with dual pumps were installed to remove the captured water.


As well as scheduling the work to allow students with access to the building, the waterproofing was completed within budget, on time.

All of this was backed by MacLennan’s full installation guarantee and PI cover on the design.


“The Royal College of Music is a conservatoire established by royal charter in 1882, located in South Kensington, London, UK. It offers training from the undergraduate to the doctoral level in all aspects of Western Music including performance, composition, conducting, music theory and history. The RCM also undertakes research, with particular strengths in performance practice and performance science. The college is one of the four conservatories of the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music and a member of Conservatoires UK. Its buildings are directly opposite the Royal Albert Hall on Prince Consort Road, next to Imperial College and among the museums and cultural centres of Albertopolis.”

Royal College of Music

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