Design Awards: 2014: Award

Holland Park School, London

Holland Park School, London

Architect

Aedas

Structural Engineer

Buro Happold Ltd

Main Contractor

Shepherd Construction

Client

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea

Over the years the school buildings had become inflexible and suffered from severe cold and overheating problems as well as poor circulation. The project to redevelop the school has rectified these issues while also satisfying the brief to sit comfortably within the Holland Park Conservation Area.
The new 1,500 pupil school maintains an equivalent amount of external play space, while consolidating the previous sprawling 1950s campus style development into a more compact footprint and so providing a flexible teaching environment fit for the 21st Century.
The project has been funded by the sale of a portion of the school’s sports grounds, on the understanding that the new design would ensure there would be no loss in external sports facilities.
Despite standing on a smaller site, the new Holland Park School has both larger internal accommodation and external areas than its predecessor as a result of efficient design and innovative use of space that was realised through the use of steelwork for the primary structural frame.
The new school building, which has achieved a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rating, is approximately 100m long and 30m wide, consisting of five above ground levels as well as a 7m deep basement that extends over the entire footprint.
The basement accommodates a sports hall, a 25m four-lane swimming pool, kitchen and dining areas.
Above ground the school building is split into two wings: to the east are the generic teaching spaces, while to the west the structure houses the specialist teaching zones. The latter is constructed with a dramatic steel A-frame that straddles the larger spaces within the basement to create clear span spaces without the need for transfer structures.
Steel bridges and stairs link the two wings across an open glazed central atrium that extends the whole length of the building. As well as creating the basement’s open spaces, the A-frame also provides a dramatic form to the atrium, maximising the penetration of natural light deep into the building and classrooms.
The A-frame’s raking columns support tiered floor plates at every level, with each one becoming broader as the raking member descends. The daylit tiers serve as circulation and breakout zones, and informal learning spaces encompassing IT clusters.
Consequently the A-frame is the signature piece of the atrium, helping to orientate users of the building and allowing optimum supervision of students at all times.
The basement beneath the A-frame was required to be column free for complete flexibility. To achieve this, internal columns were hung from roof level, with large plate girders transferring the loading from the classrooms to the perimeter columns.
Pre-stressed planks were used for the frame’s floor slabs as they provided high quality exposed soffits for thermal mass. The frame is constructed with regular 610mm beams with 350mm H sections for the bracing. These are set on a double grid to work with the classroom layouts, while a system of K-bracing was inserted to allow for doors to be set within each bay for future flexibility.
As the structural integrity of the A-frame was not complete until it was entirely constructed, temporary central columns were used within the basement. Once the frame was erected, these columns were removed leaving the upper central columns suspended from the A-frame.
Monitoring was necessary during the removal of the temporary columns, but movements were found to be only a few millimetres.
Given the school’s location within a Conservation Area and adjacent to the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea’s largest park, the design focused on creating a sympathetic relationship with local residential buildings and accentuating the connections with the park.
This has been achieved, in part, through the addition of a striking façade made up of copper, brass and bronze that adds character to the building and integrates with the heavily wooded nature of the site. The use of brise soleil softens the impact of the large building and also fulfils the primary function of sustainability by reducing solar gain and glare.
The project was one of the first jobs in the UK to make use of the Revit BIM software. This was used by all of the principal disciplines involved with the project, and was then provided to the contractor to assist in the coordination and production of the fabrication and installation drawings.
The use of steel allowed the team to create a dramatic architectural form with clear spans, while maximising offsite construction, that in turn reduced noisy on site working hours. Steel also made the structural frame lighter than alternative materials and consequently reduced the extent of foundation work.

Judges’ Comment

The specialist classroom block at this prominent school has braced steel walls at regular spacing, both to span the large sports and assembly spaces, and to respond to the inclined support along one side where the atrium widens as the building rises.
This clever solution provides large column-free classrooms and open, dynamic circulation spaces at the heart of this meticulously designed school.

Splashpoint Leisure Centre, Worthing

Splashpoint Leisure Centre, Worthing

Architect

Wilkinson Eyre Architects

Structural Engineer

AECOM

Steelwork Contractor

Severfield (UK) Ltd

Main Contractor

Morgan Sindall

Client

Worthing Borough Council

Splashpoint Leisure Centre forms the centrepiece of an ambitious regeneration plan for Worthing Borough Council. Replacing the ageing 1960s Aquarena, the project includes three pools and a fitness centre and has brought iconic architecture to a prime seafront location.
The building is 100% funded and operated by the Council, with the capital costs to be met by a future residential development to be built on an adjacent site.
The project has achieved a BREEAM ‘Very Good’ rating and is designed to be sensitive to its coastal and town centre position.
Splashpoint’s dramatic sawtooth roof, with its ranks of sinuous ridges, recalls a series of dunes that curve and twist towards the coast. This concept, which won a RIBA design competition at the project’s inception, has been recognised at a global level as the project was also declared winner of the World Architecture Festival 2013 Sports Category.
The use of steel was fundamental to achieving the project’s architectural concept as the material is ideally suited to provide the required 50m clear span for the main swimming pool with a ‘light’ feel to the structure, high level glazing and transparent façades that connect the pool to the sea.
Steelwork also provided a number of other benefits including a reduced on site programme and the avoidance of wet trades. It also helped the structure achieve the tight construction tolerances, which were essential for the interfaces with the glazing, cladding and importantly the roofing that required a 5mm installation tolerance.
Much of the steelwork within the pool area is exposed and as the environment is highly corrosive a three layer paint system had to be used. This system has a 20 year no maintenance guarantee.
Externally, a copper and timber cladding was selected as it will gradually weather, helping to set the building into its surroundings.
Overall the project is split into two parts, with steel being used to frame and roof over the 50m long main swimming pool area and the adjacent 30m long leisure pool zone. Stability is provided by the two-storey structure housing the changing rooms and fitness centre.
The pool’s signature profiled roof is formed with two 50m long trapezoidal box sections that also transfer loads from the glazed western façade into adjacent parts of the building. For the roof, high grade stainless steel fixings have been used to support the roofing panels.
Coordination of the design was carried out using 3D models, with the architectural and fabrication models overlaid to help with early clash detection, which reduced costs and delays on site.
The fabricated structure, derived directly from the coordinated 3D model, fitted together perfectly on site. This was an impressive achievement, considering the complexity of the ridges, curves, steps and asymmetry of the structure.
Samples of each of the main beams were fabricated to provide quality benchmarks. The flush finish to shop and site welds provided the structure with clean, uninterrupted lines. Thorough geometric checks were made during the fabrication process to ensure that the complex geometry was formed correctly.
For ease of erection, site welding was limited to the mid-span of the two main box section beams by using bolted splices that reduced construction time while also improving site safety.
These doubly curved asymmetric beams are subject to biaxial bending, axial compression and torsion as the complex geometry gives rise to a range of imbalanced wind and snow loads. Necessary analysis involved first principles checks, custom spreadsheets and finally a full non-linear finite element analysis of the entire structure to predict all forces and movements.
Moveable floors are fitted to both the diving and competition pools. These allow a full range of users to share the same space – swimming competitions, diving clubs, kids activities, water polo – and provide flexibility over the life of the building.
Energy conservation and environmental friendliness were central to Splashpoint’s overall design. As much as possible, energy usage has been limited to ensure a low operational impact.

Judges’ Comment

The architect’s concept of a shaped roof swooping towards the sea has been well executed, with large plate-girder beams, tidy roof details and glazed façades. The team integrated its work well and the building reflects this.
A highly successful building is helping to revitalise this part of the town and the steel structure is a key element in its enormous popularity.

The Kelpies, Falkirk

The Kelpies, Falkirk

Sculptor

Scott Sculptures

Structural Engineer

Jacobs

Steelwork Contractor

S H Structures Ltd

Main Contractor

S H Structures Ltd

Client

The Helix Trust

The two 30m high equine sculptures known as the Kelpies sit either side of a recently constructed lock on the Forth & Clyde Canal forming the centrepiece of The Helix in Falkirk.
Known as ‘head up’ and ‘head down’ during construction, because of their different postures, The Kelpies have quickly become a major Scottish tourist attraction and a highly visible signpost for a large regeneration scheme.
Client partners, Falkirk Council and Scottish Canals were keen to include a major piece of public art within this community-based parkland scheme, and in 2006 they approached sculptor Andy Scott.
Already well known for his equine sculptures, Mr Scott presented sketches of a proposal for two horse heads which would sit alongside the canal. At around 30m high, the form and scale of Mr Scott’s vision soon gained the interest of the client.
To provide something tangible for the client to relate to, he produced a pair of tenth scale models (maquettes) of the proposed works, which led to a commission to produce a second set of maquettes upon which the final full size work would be based. These new models were fundamental in securing the Big Lottery Funding required to allow the project to move forward.
Mr Scott normally undertakes the manufacture of his pieces of public art himself, however creating two 30m high heads required a different approach. While still being works of art, they needed to be designed to withstand the various forces to which they will be subjected and it was at this stage that consulting engineer Atkins was brought in to develop a working design that could be used as the basis for the procurement process.
Atkins’ approach was to scan the second set of maquettes to create a surface model that would maintain Mr Scott’s artistic intent. The company developed a working structural solution for the frames that would support the ‘skin’ of the two heads and be the basis for the tender process. Having suggested in their bid that a value engineered scheme could be developed based upon a revised internal structure, S H Structures were invited by the client to provide further details of their alternative scheme.
S H Structures appointed consultants Jacobs to develop their outline proposal and the resulting design produced savings in excess of £750,000, allowing the project to get back on track. In June 2012 S H Structures were awarded the contract as principal contractor on a design and build basis.
The value engineered solution was to create a structural tubular frame which would closely follow the internal surface of the skin. Working from the Atkins model, the team imported files and developed a structure that was based around two braced triangular trusses which were interconnected by braced in-plane CHS frames to form an efficient and stiff primary structure. A secondary frame of smaller CHS rails carried the brackets that provided the thousands of fixing points for the external skin.
A detailed 3D model of the two heads was developed using Tekla software. This BIM approach allowed all of the project stakeholders including the sculptor, client and the lighting designers to share and exchange files and snapshots.
S H Structures carried out as much assembly work as possible at its Yorkshire facility, with members being fabricated into large sub-assemblies that were all trial erected before being delivered to site. The sculpture’s skin is formed from stainless steel panels which were cold formed onto the thousands of individual brackets of the structure insitu.
The five month installation programme started on site in June 2013. Work started initially on the ‘head down’ Kelpie and after a few weeks a second erection team started work on the ‘head up’ sculpture.
It was at this point that all of the trial assemblies and dimensional controls carried out in the works paid dividends. With sections already matched and checked, the two structures quickly took shape as all of the assemblies fitted perfectly, which helped the project to complete on time.

Judges’ Comment

Two shimmering steel horses heads, fully 30m high, required considerable engineering finesse to realise the sculptor’s vision. A tubular steel frame supports this most complex and delicate sculptural form.
Recognised internationally as probably the finest equine public artwork in the world, The Kelpies attract global visitors to Falkirk.