Defying the weather

Playing a key role in the striking V&A Dundee museum’s unusual facade were Dowsil 791 and 895 glazing sealants.

Manufactured and supplied by The Sherwin Williams Company, the sealants were specified to help resist the gale force winds and rain that blow into the location across the Firth of Tay from the North Sea.

Created using a structure of interlocking concrete walls jutting out over an historic dock-front, the V&A Dundee is now one of Scotland’s most recognisable modern buildings. Opened in 2018, the structure of the design museum was created by Japanese architectural practice Kengo Kuma and Associates to mimic the appearance of a Scottish sea cliff; with world-renowned Arup providing multidisciplinary services including structural and facade engineering.

Wates Construction was the main contractor for the project while Pro-Sealant Solutions from Bellshill in North Lanarkshire was the specialist sub-contractor responsible for sealing the building’s bespoke glazing system.

Prior to the commencement of the work on site, Pro-Sealant Solutions helped create a sample panel of the glazed, reconstructed stone facade in early 2016 for the project team to assess. The sample was constructed using Dowsil 791 Weatherproofing Silicone Sealant in black for the glass to glass joints, as well as Dowsil 895 Structural Glazing Sealant for a glass corner of the structure.

The Sherwin Williams Company, manufacturer and distributor of Dowsil products in the UK, provided all of the technical and test data necessary to confirm the suggested Dowsil products’ compatibility with the facade materials. The specified products needed to demonstrate their ability to meet the extreme weather demands of the estuary location.

Having demonstrated the suitability of the Dowsil products for the job, Pro-Sealant Solutions’ installation teams were on site for more than two months over a period from the summer of 2016 to the end of the following year. It was necessary that the sealant specialists made repeat visits as different sections of the elevations were installed and came ready for glass-to-glass, and glass-to-stone sealing.

Dowsil 791 is a specially developed weather-proofing low-modulus silicone sealant; available in clear as well as white, grey, black brown, bronze, stone, buff limestone and anthracite. It is suitable for un-primed application to glass, metal, masonry and other porous or non-porous substrates, which offers +/-50% movement of the original joint width, making it ideal for expansion, perimeter and other joints.

Dowsil 895 is a specifically developed structural glazing sealant suitable for bonding glass, metal and other construction materials. It is able to provide weather resistance right up to hurricane force conditions, making it ideal for the extremely testing climate on Scotland’s east coast. The product conforms to the European standard for structural glazing (ETA-01/0005).