Old coal-burning power station into becomes a showplace corporate headquarters
Arup's structural engineering services helped make the conversion of a dilapidated 1930s coal-burning power station into a showplace corporate headquarters an outstanding success.
Engineers worked closely with HOK (interior design; new addition and atrium) and Quinn Evans Architects (historic preservation, existing façade), enabling their dynamic vision for adaptive reuse to draw upon the building's industrial heritage as inspiration.
The project team faced considerable challenges. The client wanted to fit 30% more program into the space than the existing floorplate could contain. The existing tenant, a local utility company, had to be accommodated for the first twelve months of the project prior to moving to new space. Maintaining the essential character of the historic structure was critical, as was meeting aggressive schedule and budget targets within the framework of a design-build contract. Finally, the client set ambitious sustainability goals, including LEED® Gold certification.
Selectively rationalizing and adding to the internal floor spaces required Arup to remove multiple floorplates of original riveted steel structure while maintaining the existing brick façade in place. A ship-in-a-bottle solution was used to deliver new steelwork through the roof while maintaining weathertightness. To permit the construction of new program above existing tenant space, the design utilized existing crane rails within the turbine hall as support for a two-storey suspended structure that floats above the existing floor. Adaptation rather than replacement of existing window mullions allowed sensitive upgrade of thermal performance.
Innovation followed through from survey to design to construction. Starting from a laser scan of the existing structure which was converted into Revit, Arup collaborated with contractors by sharing the project BIM model, which allowed all steelwork fabrication drawings to be reviewed in a virtual 3D environment and MEP clashes to be eliminated well before construction started