Occupying an entire city block on London’s Oxford Street, the iconic new Park House incorporating office space, retail units and apartments, is now under construction in a flagship multi-million pound project which is the largest development on Oxford Street for 40 years.
The project is being carried out for Land Securities by Design and Build Contractor Mace Construction.
The new nine-storey, approximately 500,000 sq ft building is being constructed on an empty site cleared by earlier demolition works. Currently there are approximately 600 construction personnel on site and the contract is progressing on programme.
The building will incorporate three levels of retail units with offices on the floors above, to the west side, and 39 luxury apartments (including 13 one-bedroom, 13 two-bedroom and 13 three-bedroom units) on the east side, with their own dedicated entrance on North Row.
The retail units feature shop fronts twice the average height for the area, perfect for drawing in the estimated 200 million people who visit Oxford Street every year.
The building has a complex structure incorporating a reinforced concrete sub-structure with a steel frame to level two, where it divides into a continuing steel frame for the office element and a reinforced concrete frame for the residential element.
Vibration isolation measures are also an important factor within the building’s structure, and are designed to protect the building from the vibration generated by road traffic and the nearby tube line.
Externally, the design features a striking fully glazed facade to all elevations incorporating specially commissioned art features, with a curved, partially metal and partially glazed roof.
The dramatic curves of the glass exterior have been compared to a sleek racing car, elegantly maximising the available space without overpowering the surrounding area. Visitors are greeted by a glass prism of liquid light created by Carpenter Lowings, while artist Walter Bailey has created extraordinary works in wood to adorn the exterior and reception.
The project will also provide an enhancement to the public realm in that there will be more pedestrian space once the project has been completed than there was previously.
Throughout the scheme, Mace has utilised its knowledge and experience of working on major inner city sites. “A lot of our projects are in central London and similar challenging sites – whether around live railway stations, busy retail areas or commercial offices. It simply means that we have to plan the works in a great deal of detail. In this case we have accessed the building from the south side on North Row, avoiding Oxford Street.” said Mr Jonathan Foster Mace Director responsible for Park House.
Currently the building is structurally complete, with all of the external wall cladding in place and the roof glazing is in progress, together with internal mechanical and electrical works and fitting out.
Phased handover is scheduled from June to November 2012.
Trelleborg rises to the challenge
Engineered polymers specialists Trelleborg, played a major role in overcoming one of the main challenges in the Park House project, arising from its proximity to Marble Arch Tube Station with resulting vibration and noise from the trains.
Working with acoustic consultants Hann Tucker Associates, Trelleborg formulated a strategy to provide individually engineered, specially manufactured rubber bearings, underneath and within the building to alleviate the problem.
The solution involved the bespoke design, manufacture and installation of the rubber bearings by Netherlands-based Trelleborg.
Park House rests on 363 rubber bearings that are 500 millimeters square and 140 millimeters high. The bearings are installed at the sub- basement level, under the two central cores – complex towers of steel-reinforced concrete forming the backbone of the building. These bearings carry a 28,000-metric-ton vertical load.
Elsewhere there are three different types of bearing in use, each one individually specified and tested.
The highest level of noise and vibration isolation is needed on the third floor, where the luxury accommodation begins. The steel columns here are supported by high-specification bearings included in 44 modular steel assemblies, some of which weigh more than two metric tons.
There are bearing assemblies at lower levels to isolate the towers and several hundred smaller bearings, 110 millimeters across, fitted on the second floor to ensure that the exterior cladding cannot transmit vibrations from below.
What Trelleborg brings to the project is its expertise in working closely with specialized structural engineers and acoustic consultants.
At the Trelleborg Engineered Systems facility in Ridderkerk, Trelleborg designs and manufactures engineered rubber products to seal, damp and protect in demanding environments worldwide. As well as isolating buildings, its products are used in bridges and big civil structures like storm surge barriers. Moreover it has a leading position globally in sealing systems for tunnels and underground structures like parking garages.