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.
PCE were responsible for the offsite manufacture of 48 reinforced precast concrete crucible components. It was important the replicated cruciforms mirrored their original 1965 counterparts, ensuring smooth and seamless connection of the new levels with the original ones. The existing cruciform details, originally designed by Pell Frischmann in 1965, were made available to aid in a direct replication of the original intent. To produce an accurate cruciform replica, PCE first created unique moulds that matched the 1965 originals. Once moulds had been created and approved, the next challenge was ensuring the concrete used to produce the 48 new cruciform components continued to closely mimic the originals.
Achieving this feat was no easy task; there were 58 years between the original cruciforms and the newly manufactured duplicates. As such, PCE had to account for a number of factors, including weathering and elemental exposure, as well as general aging impact on the original concrete. The material testing and sampling process was rigorous; ensuring an exact replica required fastidious depth of detail, from materiality to textural characteristics. Pursuit of such high levels of detail and accuracy is testament to PCE’s unwavering pursuit of the achieving highest standards. A longstanding partner of PCE’s expansive and versatile supply chain, Techcrete, were instrumental in working alongside PCE to successfully overcome the challenge of creating components that closely replicated the original cruciforms, demonstrating what can be achieved through effective collaboration.
The manufacturing success for the Space House project highlights the possibilities of what can be achieved when modular construction is combined with the right skill set, methodologies, and the desire to achieve and overcome complexity. Through its offsite expertise, PCE were able to ensure the required features and standards of the cruciform components were achieved, without exception. With strong supplier relations and PCE Precast Coordinators supporting the supply chain with quality control and monitoring, the project benefitted from the opportunity to check, review, and validate components offsite, ensuring every element was manufactured to the highest quality standards.
Modular construction creates new opportunities and possibilities by enabling faster construction, increased design flexibility and integration, reduced costs, and enhanced sustainability; it helps open doors to innovative and efficient building solutions. Space House is testament to this, with PCE able to work within the confines of a nearly 60-year-old structure, replicate and reconnect with precision and efficiency, and ultimately prolong the longevity of a structure for a further 60 years.