Extensive bombing during the Second World War all but obliterated the once vibrant hub of Elephant and Castle in south London.
Subsequent insensitive construction, including low quality 1960s tower blocks, changed the face of the area and it fell into decline. The Trafalgar Place redevelopment forms part of a wider masterplan set to restore the district to its former glory.
The architect’s concept places community at the heart of Trafalgar Place. The design steers away from large, alienating tower block structures, and instead blends townhouses with attractive apartment blocks and mini towers, all set within landscaped gardens.
BuroHappold Engineering was tasked with devising a fire strategy to support this vision. The unusual layout and mix of buildings complicated our work, as did the architect’s provision of fewer stairwells than that required to comply with standard fire codes. The open plan apartments also posed a challenge, as they were lacking in opportunities to install fire doors and other similar barriers.
To ensure the architect’s design could be realised, our engineers embedded fire safety into the very structure of the development.
To ensure the architect’s design could be realised, our engineers embedded fire safety into the very structure of the development. We advised that the frame and staircases of the two largest apartment blocks be constructed of treated cross-laminated timber – an environmentally responsible material that also has excellent flame retardant qualities.
Our team also undertook extensive calculations to develop a strategy that would accommodate the open plan design of the apartments, and provide flexibility of layout. We equipped each flat with enhanced fire safety features, such as sprinkler systems, as well as placing fire fighting equipment at strategic points around the complex so it could be easily accessed by residents.
By responding to the architect’s unusual design with a bespoke fire strategy, BuroHappold was able to justify the safety of the Trafalgar Square development to the relevant authorities. In doing so, we played a key role in the success of what is a landmark project for London.
Services and approach
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