Polymer technology used in one of London’s largest projects
The Walbrook construction is occupying 1.6 acres of land which will eventually become a mixed use office and retail development in London’s city centre. When complete, The Walbrook will provide a gross area of 600,000 sq.ft, including 410,000 sq.ft of Grade A net letable area and 35,000 sq.ft of retail and restaurant accommodation. But it is not the project’s scale which makes it remarkable, rather the materials used.
Similar to many buildings, the exterior of The Walbrook will be encased with solar shading which will help keep the building cool in the summer and warm in the winter, thus improving energy efficiency. But the cladding on this development is entirely comprised of a Fiber-Reinforced Polymer (FRP) with an automotive finish – making the sheen resemble that of a car. FRPs are commonly used in the aerospace, automotive and marine industries because of their enhanced strength and low-weight, boasting a strength to weight ratio higher than steel or concrete. FRPs have also been used in bridge construction but have not been used to this extent on buildings before.
The Walbrook, designed by Foster + Partners for clients Minerva, is currently under construction in between Bank and Cannon Street stations. Skanska, Arup and Roger Preston & Partners will combine efforts on the construction and engineering and hope to complete the project by the end of 2009 making a high-tech 50 metre long impact along Cannon Street.
Niki May Young