Tell us about the early design brief
The brief was to design a pump station to draw ground water, supplement potable water and relieve ground water pressure on nearby structures. Our design concept was inspired by a series of inter-connected ‘boxes’ half buried in the landscape, giving the impression of archaeological remains.
What challenges did you face along the way?
To produce a building to suit the budget and the operational requirements of Thames Water whilst aspiring to be being a good architectural design was the main challenge. It was also a difficult site to work in – access to the site would change on a daily basis due to differing agendas of Network Rail, Thames Water and the Olympic Delivery Authority, resulting in numerous occasions when the contractor was locked out!
What would you highlight as the best or lasting benefits of your design work?
The interesting sculptural massing and use of brickwork and mixed brickwork types animating the facades were a highlight of the construction. The robust materials used in the construction will age well with minimum maintenance, too.
How did it feel to be involved in such a large and important British project?
It was a good opportunity to demonstrate that utility buildings can aspire to be well designed and aesthetically pleasing. We are proud of having the opportunity to design something that would contribute in a very tangible way to the environment and look good.