Kings Court at the heart of Covent Garden development
Known worldwide as one of London’s most attractive districts, Covent Garden is a hub of activity all year round. A magnet for opera and theatre fans, the WC2 area also attracts millions of visitors to the many restaurants, high end fashion boutiques, attractive shops, and galleries.
Getting approval for a new development in Covent Garden is far from easy and any proposal has to pass a number of rigorous tests in terms of design and overall quality before it gets the go-ahead. The Kings Court development is such a project, and our structural engineers are delighted to be at the heart of the £85m scheme, which is scheduled to be completed by 2017.
Work on the prestigious Kings Court and Carriage Hall mixed development commenced in autumn 2014. When completed, the new, seven-storey reinforced concrete structure will provide over 85,000ft2 of prime residential and retail space in central London, comprising 45 luxury apartments, two restaurant units, and eight retail units. The development will also see the creation of a new pedestrian route that will transform an existing private courtyard into a shared public space, named Kings Court. The reinforced concrete structure is a key part of this ambitious project which aims to regenerate some of the lesser used parts of this select area with a mix of new and refurbished buildings.
Use of advanced modelling software
Waterman was appointed as the main structural engineers for the Kings Court development. Our team used advanced modelling software to design the concrete elements of the scheme, in line with Eurocode 2 rules. Our structural design engineer Massimo D’Ignazio says that as traditional British Standard codes of practice are becoming obsolete, Waterman wants to promote the use of Eurocode on all new projects. Therefore, the team used a structural design package called StruSoft FEM-Design concrete package to design the concrete elements. It makes the design of the concrete elements very simple and clear. The advanced modelling software was used to analyse the overall structure of the building and also to design concrete elements including beams, walls, and slabs.
Massimo D’Ignazio said; “We have learned to appreciate how easy it is to check the results in detail, assisted by colour maps, 3D graphs, contour lines, colour palettes, and so on. Due to the large number of load combinations required by Eurocode, the package has been very useful to analyse the structure with only selected load combinations considered in each analysis run.”
The challenge posed by London clay
One challenge the team faced with the Kings Court development was the prevalence of uplift due to ‘ground heave’. Using the advanced modelling software, the team was able to assess the expansion of London clay which Covent Garden is built upon, under a range of different conditions.
Massimo continues; “With StruSoft FEM-Design, it has been possible to consider this behaviour because the software has a powerful, non-linear calculation method and allows the user to set free rotation components.”