PCE Ltd were delighted to have been appointed as specialist contractors for the design, manufacture, and construction of the £110m refurbishment of the iconic Covent Garden landmark building, Space House.
The sustainably-driven Space House rejuvenation project saw PCE once again work with Main Contractors BAM Construction, on behalf of London-based real estate developer Seaforth Land, bringing new life to the landmark Grade II listed building in Covent Garden, London. Using its innovative HybriDfMA Bespoke system, PCE designed and delivered the structural solution for the new cruciform units to Level 15 & 16 and re-installed the refurbished roof T units at Levels 16 & 17.
To intricately replicate the geometry of the original cruciform components, PCE utilized its offsite expertise and the latest digital design software, applying the latest design standards to ensure reliable, seamless, and smart connectivity between the new and existing levels. As part of the installation of the additional levels, the top structural layer needed to be detached, repaired offsite, and expertly reattached to the structure. To facilitate a smooth transition, the removed structural layer was surveyed to identify the best and most efficient reinstallation methodologies. Doing so allowed PCE to design out risks associated with tolerances and settlement details. From there, PCE attached 48 reinforced precast concrete cruciform replicas, manufactured offsite to replicate the 1960s originals, to the original connections using the HybriDfMA Bespoke system’s smart connectivity. Use of the system helped bridge the past and present with seamless precision and structural synergy.
Reattaching the top layer, especially at a height of 15 storeys in London's bustling Covent Garden district, posed significant challenges due to the circular geometry of the structure. Despite the inherent challenges of working within the constraints of an aging structure, the clever modular nature of the original building and its structurally integrated façade, coupled with PCE’s ability to configure its system build approach to existing designs, ensured the repurposing of Space House could be achieved with increased ease and efficiency. Integration of the new levels and reconnection of the removed top structural layer was aided by clearly designed load paths, helping effectively distribute the load of the new structure. Further, the inherent modularity of both the original structure and PCE’s system solution played a crucial role in determining the optimal connections, facilitating a well-defined framework that embraced the HybriDfMA Bespoke system’s smart connectivity features. The structures’ reinforcements were strategically placed, enhancing the predictability and efficiency whilst working within its constraints.
‘Designing out’ risk and ‘designing in’ efficiencies is key to PCE’s system build approach. The absence of back propping, a common feature across PCE’s different system build solutions, improved access, reduced risk, and increased the speed and ease of installation. It also provides greater flexibility for design modifications and repurposing of buildings in the future, highlighting the adaptability, longevity, and sustainability offered by modular construction coupled with PCE's MMC expertise.
Despite the project’s complexity, PCE’s near 50 years expertise in modular and MMC ensured that fastidious planning and preparation was expertly executed, with substantial consideration towards details, tolerances, buildability and practicality, as well as consideration of the logistical complexities and the management of temporary works.