The restoration of a seven-storey commercial building’s 1895 façade and the substantial rebuild of the main building. The buildings original inner courtyard has been converted to a five-story high atrium, and the static loads from the floors higher than the atrium are transferred through a suspension system to two mega columns. On the ground and first floors, the original floor slabs have been replaced by in-situ cast concrete floors, which has made it possible to establish open, pillar-free sales areas. The many constructive interventions increased the overall load of the building, which has made it necessary to strengthen the existing foundations with a number of additional 25m long GEWI piles. The building was in operation throughout the entire construction process.
This stylish transformation of a historic town centre building has benefitted immensely from the intelligent design and construction methodology of the structural consultants. Elegant tree columns on new foundations inserted within the original courtyard have been used to support the upper floors, allowing a top-down construction programme that has enabled continuous building occupancy throughout the construction period. By transferring loads from upper floors and replacing lower floors with concrete structures capable of spanning greater distances, the engineers have enabled much of the loadbearing structure to be removed in the retail areas. The resultant conversion of a 19th century building into vibrant and unencumbered retail and office space, where the artistry and intelligence of the structural solutions are fully expressed, is a tribute to the skill of the structural engineers and their close collaboration with the architect.