Workmen smoothing the concrete on the newly poured floors of the Sackler Centre

Workmen smoothing the concrete on the newly poured floors of the Sackler Centre

John Proctor, Softroom, Sackler Centre Architects

Pouring the concrete floors, November 2007
One of the main things happening on site in November has been pouring concrete for the floors. There were previously several different floor surfaces in the building reflecting its use as restaurant, shop, gallery etc. The brief for the floors called for a tough easily maintainable finish. After considering many resin-based alternatives we felt that the best value came from a concrete overslab smoothed by a power trowel and then sealed. It forms a hard-wearing, smooth finish that will last. It also unifies the different spaces and adds a contemporary feel.

In the video clip you can see the spaces where the floor is to be poured. First there is the gallery we will use for display, leading up to the residency studios. Second comes the containment for the new concrete staircase and the underside of the auditorium with its raked floor. The concrete arrives in a lorry outside the V&A and is mixed to a precise 'recipe'. A pipe leads into the site and everyone is ready for the hard work of spreading it evenly as soon as it is poured. Then it is levelled out and power trowelled to give a smooth finish - all this has to happen quickly and in sequence before the concrete sets. The result is a beautiful smooth polished concrete floor.

Watch a short video of the concrete being poured (1min 41secs)