Jan Friedlein
Jan Friedlein

Union Square

We collaborated with architects AHMM and Glenn Howells on a development in London’s Southwark, to produce structural designs for a total of four concrete-framed buildings. Set in a constrained urban location, the site incorporated 85 apartments, 2,500 m² of office space and 2,000 m² of retail and leisure space with associated underground parking facilities.

Prior to start on site we led a number of investigations to determine the nature and content of the ground. The plot was adjacent to tube lines and a station, had been subject to damage during the war and potentially held archaeological remains. The latter was found not to be an issue, since the substantial majority of any remains had been removed or destroyed during the construction of terraced houses on Union Street in the 19th century. The proximity of all four buildings to LUL and Network Rail services was an ongoing concern which required technical approvals for the proposed works together with the agreement of a programme of monitoring during construction.

In order to maximise thermal mass and economy, as well as simplify coordination between the buildings, we specified concrete frame in all cases. The designs were relatively simple and largely rectangular, and did not require the benefits of steel, such as reduced weight and increased flexibility. We used piled foundations throughout with waterproofed concrete slabs above, and specified thin secant piled walls to maximise the usable basement space.

For the superstructure, wherever possible we designed flat slabs with party and core walls providing lateral stability. Buildings 1A (five storeys) and 1B (seven storeys) are connected, and provide support to each other along their east-west axis. Building 2 extends to twelve storeys, incorporating transfer structures and gaining stiffness from its fair-faced concrete façade as well as concrete cores. The four-storey Building 3 gains stability from its façade structures on all sides.

Four concrete-framed, mixed-use buildings in historical Southwark

London, UK
AZ Urban Studio
Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, Glenn Howells Architects