Park Plaza London Riverbank Hotel

Structural Designer

Walsh

Client Name

Park Plaza Hotels

Location

London, UK

PRINCIPAL CONTRACTOR: GEAR Construction  

ARCHITECT: ESA Architecture   

STEEL FABRICATOR: Conder Allslade       

FLOOR CONTRACTOR: Hi-Span    

INTERIOR DESIGN: Digital Space

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

The addition of six extra floors and the conversion of an existing floor to a high profile hotel on the banks of the River Thames added 155 rooms and created a additional floor area 9320m2 with a construction cost of approximately £19m. Structural engineers Walsh utilised a range of innovative design solutions to facilitate the safe construction of this development and introduced a number of safe working methods and initiatives such that the work could be completed with negligible risk to the occupants of the 450 room hotel underneath which remained operational.

Judge's comment:

Situated on the Albert Embankment, Park Plaza’s London Riverbank Hotel was originally 12 floors high to the roof. During the initial construction in 2003-2005 the hotel was designed for a future extension of an extra six storeys at the rear. Unfortunately, the locality changed and the extension was ultimately required at the front to give guests a good view of the Thames rather than the nearby railway line. Carrying an extra six extra storeys is no lightweight affair.

The judges were particularly impressed with the inventiveness of the structural solution. The existing structure was strengthened to carry just the weight of the new steel frame until steel plate girders (some three storeys high) were constructed at roof level. Then the loading was reversed and the new structure was hung from the plate girders, reducing the spans of the floor structures and allowing them to be kept slender such that the overall height of the building could be kept within planning constraints. In all, 755 tonnes of steelwork were added to the building and the six extra floors added 155 rooms.

It is astonishing that the 450 room hotel underneath was kept operational during construction works, with scaffolding cantilevered from the new 13th floor.

The judges also noted that given the complexity of the construction process, the production of a video by the engineer to explain the structural principles was an excellent piece of communication, keeping in check the inevitable risks of such a construction project.