Author: R. Paul (WSP)
2 July 2018
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R. Paul (WSP)
The St Giles Circus project involves the £150M redevelopment of a central London site adjacent to Tottenham Court Road Station. The structural and civil engineering design was undertaken by Engenuiti, with geotechnical advice from Donaldson Associates. The development includes leisure, retail, commercial, residential accommodation and a boutique hotel. Above ground, the building incorporates an immersive multimedia urban gallery hung from two-storey steel trusses cantilevered over Tottenham Court Road Station. Below ground, a 2000-person basement venue for live music and events is being built 6m above the eastbound Elizabeth line tunnel, adjacent to the London Underground Northern line platform tunnels and above the inclined cut-and-cover concrete box housing the escalators that provide public access to the Northern line.
I am pleased to have been asked to contribute a foreword to this timely publication. As work on the Crossrail programme comes to a conclusion and we pass the baton of largest infrastructure project in Europe to High Speed 2, this is a valuable collection of insights into the design and construction process for the structural elements of the programme. Crossrail has always been committed to sharing lessons learned, embodied most effectively in our Learning Legacy initiative, through which we have published many examples of insight and good practice on a dedicated website.
There is something special about megaprojects that brings out the best in engineering design and construction. It could be that the longer-term durations for the planning, design and build phases allow more measured and thoughtful decision making; it could be that the weight of public exposure and expectation creates an added incentive to succeed; it could be that the prestige of being part of the programme attracts the best teams in the best organisations; it could be that the extended schedule nurtures a team spirit and a collaborative way of working that is difficult to achieve in a typical shorter-term project.