Construction Update

Brent Cross shopping centre

Construction work will begin on the £1.4 bn Brent Cross London later this year, doubling the size of the current centre to two million square feet of retail and leisure space. The plans, which will create around 5000 construction jobs, also include an enlarged bus station as well as highways infrastructure. Laing O’Rourke has worked alongside architects Callison RTKL and Chapman Taylor, to oversee the design and procurement phase. Liam Cummins, Head of UK building for Laing O’Rourke, says that the company has “the ability to drive certainty into the delivery programme through in-house technical expertise and procurement capacity, our integrated supply chain and advanced digital engineering and offsite manufacturing.”

AYKON London One

International fashionistas will love the interiors of apartments designed by Versace Home in this lavish 50 storey residential tower block situated in London’s Nine Elms district. Multiplex has been named by owners Damac International as the main contractor of the building which has been scheduled for completion in 2020 and will include 10,000 square feet of communal gardens as well as indoor swimming pool (complete with Versace towels) and a children’s play area. The first fashion branded building in Britain; it will channel Greek and Roman mythological themes, as well as a gold and cream colour scheme. Multiplex chief executive Ashley Muldoon said that the company had a ‘enviable track record of completing on time, on budget and to the highest quality and design criteria and a prestigious project such as this allows us to demonstrate our proven capabilities.”

Engineers to mimic the human spine in bridge building

The human body has been the inspiration for engineers since Classical times and researchers at the University of Southampton have followed that tradition to create an innovative bridge design which takes inspiration from the human spine. “Just like the spine, we have create bridge piers which are made up of layers of pre-cast concrete ‘vertabrae’ interspersed with flexible ‘discs’ made from a composite material that allows strength with flexibility,” says Professor Mehdi Kashani, assistant professor in structural engineering at the University. He says that they have proved their concept and are now looking for partners to assist with the construction of a pier. Bridges built with this technology, which could happen as early as 2023, should be invaluable in earthquake zones and also help to protect against heavy traffic use.

Edinburgh St James shopping centre

The new 1.7 million square foot retail and leisure centre in the heart of Scotland’s historic capital, designed by Allan Murray Architects, is nothing if not ambitious. Costing around £1bn, and set to create thousands of jobs in construction over the lifetime of the project, it will include 80 new shops and 3 public squares, 150 units of residential accommodation and a multi-screen cinema. Overseeing the demolition phase, which has now been completed, and now construction is Laing O’Rourke, which was formally appointed in 2016. The retail and leisure element of the redevelopment is anticipated to complete in 2020 followed by full scheme completion in 2021.

Thea Jourdan
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