The Kensington

London, UK

Constructed to provide JCDecaux with a sleek new platform for digital advertising, the Kensington is a 30m x 6m steel and glass billboard designed by Zaha Hadid. Situated on a prime location on the West Cromwell Road, the digital display is positioned on a key route linking central London and Heathrow airport.

The Kensington is both striking in its own right as well as a stunning and effective advertising platform for leading brands.

Challenge

Featuring a curved digital screen surrounded by two flowing ribbons on matt stainless steel, our team worked closely with Zaha Hadid to develop the complex geometrical design into a buildable structure.

The display sits on top of an existing below ground structure within a tight city centre footprint, so a further challenge for our team was to deliver a solution that would work within this confined location.

Uniquely designed billboard in Kensington
The complex ribbon form is made from a stainless steel monocoque shell structure. Image: Buro Happold

Solution

Our team worked closely with the rest of the design team to ascertain that the structural ribbon form could only be achieved through the use of a stainless steel monocoque shell structure. This supports its load by distributing tension and compression across its surface, negating the need to install an internal frame to carry the load.

We helped the architect to devise this complex project by using parametric modelling techniques to give a high degree of accuracy. This, combined with early engagement from the steel fabricator CIG, allowed us to deliver a cost-effective structure that could be easily fabricated and safely constructed.

In order to integrate the digital display successfully with its surroundings, our team assessed the existing site and below ground locations to fully understand the best positioning. We worked with the site constraints to ensure the main forces of the structure transferred to the ground in just two locations, with the new piers located to cause minimal disruption to the existing basement box. The Kensington also respects its surroundings, utilising a lighting design that guarantee there was no ‘spill’ into the line of traffic.

Uniquely designed billboard in Kensington
The display’s lighting has been carefully designed to ensure no excess light split onto the passing traffic. Image: Buro Happold
Using parametric modelling techniques, we carefully planned the complex steel structural form. Image: Buro Happold

Value

Buro Happold was able to bring our experience of complex structural design to help realise this impressive 30m long digital display. Analysis of the complex form could only have been achieved with our team’s in-house computational methods that ensued the architect’s vision could be accomplished. Following the success of The Kensington, we have been asked to submit a proposal for another upcoming architectural digital display.

Uniquely designed billboard in Kensington
Using parametric modelling techniques, we carefully planned the complex steel structural form. Image: Buro Happold
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