MANRESA ROAD, CHELSEA, LONDON, U.K.

Client: Manresa Developments Ltd/Multiplex
Architect: Weldon Walshe/ Woods Bagot

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MBP were initially appointed by Manresa Developments on the basis of an alternative structural scheme that satisfied the high degree of flexibility demanded by their design brief. On completion of the Scheme Design Stage, the building contract was let to Multiplex on a design and construct basis. MBP are retained as consulting structural engineers by Multiplex.

This £43m shell and core development provides 15 luxury apartments behind the retained façade of the former King's College Building in Manresa Road, Chelsea. A new basement is constructed across the whole site and accommodates car parking, plant rooms and leisure and utility spaces for the flats – cinemas, laundry rooms and stores. At ground level a large communal garden with water features extends over the basement and behind the new development. A Villa plot within the site is currently being developed under a separate contract.

Basement walls are constructed using secant piles and the superstructure loads are supported by a raft foundation. Excavation of the basement results in ground heave caused by the unloading of the London Clay at depth. This is counteracted to a varying extent across the site by the loads applied as the new construction is built. A stiff raft foundation is used to distribute loads and limit differential movements. The behaviour is complex and finite element computer programmes are used to model the characteristics of the soil and its interaction with the reinforced concrete raft.

Above ground a hybrid construction of steel and concrete is adopted. Cores within the body of the building are slip-formed in concrete, while those adjacent to the flanks are constructed in steel to overcome the physical constraints of the site. Concrete floors are designed to act in conjunction with deep steel beams that span ca 13 metres between party walls. Circular holes in the webs of the beams allow for mechanical and electrical services distribution within the structural depth.


Value (excl. fitout): £43m
Completion: 2006

Principal: Tony Hayes

construction sequence