Tell us about the early design brief
Block N09 formed part of the Athletes’ Village and is located 200m west of Stratford International Station. Initially, during its ‘Games mode’, the building housed athletes and team members competing in the Olympics and Paralympics. After the Games in its final ‘legacy mode’, the development will be converted into residential units, with the ground floor of the building providing retail units, plant space, an entrance lobby and cycle storage.
What challenges did you face along the way?
The site was previously used to produce concrete for the Channel Tunnel, so prior to demolition the ground was littered with services and residual concrete up to ten metres deep in certain places. Due to these uncertain ground conditions, piling was a contractual stipulation.
Because of the building’s unusual shape, we kept the design as simple as possible and opted for a concrete frame construction using three cores for lateral stability. We also selected a white pre-cast concrete cladding to reflect the chalk strata in the ground below.
At roof level, ETFE (fluorine based plastic) cushions flood the building with light, and a green wall boosts the project’s sustainable credentials. We used GGBS (ground granulated blast furnace slag) in the concrete mix, which reduced the cement content by up to 36% and reduced the carbon footprint in the process.
The site’s proximity to the rail track led to us regularly liaising with the rail authorities and we monitored the project carefully to ensure that our works didn’t affect the stability of the track or their construction programme. The building took up almost the entirety of the constrained plot and we had to employ a specialised pile rig where the foundations abutted the railway.
How did it feel to be involved in such an important British project?
Overall, it was very exciting to be involved in such a high profile project and our work will offer a lasting legacy in an area of regeneration.