Multi-discipline engineering consultancy Meinhardt UK, as a proud member of the project team, has welcomed news that one of the largest rental community schemes in the UK – at Greenford Green, Ealing, London – has earned planning consent.
Global real estate company Greystar has appointed Meinhardt UK alongside HTA Design (architects) and Alinea Consulting (Cost Consultants) to regenerate an area of industrial wasteland next to the Grand Union Canal that was formerly occupied by pharmaceutical giant GSK.
The majority of the 1,965-home development will primarily be for multifamily rental, but will also offer a mix of private sale, affordable and shared ownership homes set within a mixed-use well-managed neighbourhood.
One of the biggest engineering achievements to date is that the Meinhardt team has developed an earthworks strategy which will allow the developer to retain and re-use the maximum available demolition material, to improve the ground levels, which currently slope some six metres from one end of the site to the other.
Meinhardt has been surveying the site and working with utility companies to design the demolition and enabling works packages with an aim to have the site cleared for the main contractor during 2017.
In conjunction with the enabling works, the project team are also proceeding with the design development for Phase One, with an anticipated start on site for construction late in 2017.
The project has to work around the listed ‘Art Deco’ former GSK HQ building which will be extended and renovated behind a retained façade. The proposal retains the use as a commercial building.
Raft and pile foundations are planned to work with the current ground conditions, working around or over existing basements which will be removed and back filled. A foundation strategy has been developed to work around the existing basement areas.
Because of the size of the site and speed of the build (which is often a requirement of PRS developers), engineers have looked at standardising and developing a regular structural grid to integrate key services in the buildings. The project is likely to include an element of MMC with standardised components offering opportunities for a lot of prefabricated and offsite construction.
The residential buildings share the regularity seen in hotels and student accommodation allowing development of column arrangements that allow pod construction.
The energy centre for a district heating system has been separated from the residential buildings to allow autonomous operation. The energy centre will provide electricity to the communal areas of the multifamily rental buildings and heat to the whole development. A canal crossing extends the heat network to both sides of the waterway.
With blocks accommodating between 198 and 379 apartments, the plans promise 1,439 rented homes, 526 homes for market sale, with agreed affordable housing comprising discount rented and shared ownership homes. The scheme will also deliver communal space, 59,500 square feet of office space as well as 65,000 square feet of retail – including a new grocery store – and 33,000 square feet of space for restaurants and cafes. There will also be a new primary school on the site, as well as accommodation for a new health centre. A new pedestrian bridge over the canal and a proposal to re-open Berkeley Avenue to improve accessibility are also planned.
The lead architect on this scheme is HTA Design in collaboration with four other practices – Hawkins Brown, SLCE, MAE, and Flanagan Lawrence who are responsible for the re-design of the listed Glaxo House.