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Southbank is ready for a new community hub

By Bilgehan Akturan

We are sure that you are aware of the construction just behind the London Eye. The project, a joint venture between the Canary Wharf Group and Qatari Diar, will transform its part of Lambeth, and may well provide London with a new iconic modern building on its skyline. Given its importance to the area, we decided to ask some of your questions to Project Manager Richard Lines…

What is the background story of the Southbank Place project?

Southbank Place is a new mixed-use development, created by Braeburn Estates, a joint venture between Canary Wharf Group and Qatari Diar. It consists of seven buildings, which will hold office space, retail outlets, residential homes, and a public realm which everyone will be able to enjoy. Construction began at Southbank Place in April 2016 and is expected to be complete in 2019. Several leading architects and interior designers have worked on the project and will help to rejuvenate the local area. The public realm of the development will be a new community hub, accessible to everyone in the area, both residents, and non-residents alike.

What is the importance of the local area for the project?

Southbank Place has been designed with sensitivity and in the context of the history of the area. It surrounds the Shell Building, which is the original site of the Festival of Britain, held in 1951 to celebrate advances in science and technology following the end of World War II. In this vein, the latest phase, Belvedere Gardens, uses the Festival Star, an emblem originally designed by Abram Games, across the façade, paying homage to the events of the past. Southbank Place has also endeavored to engage local people and has employed a significant number of Lambeth residents on the project.

Do you think that Southbank Place will join your previous projects, such as the Walkie Talkie, as an iconic symbol on London’s skyscape? 

Yes, Southbank Place will be a leader in developing and rejuvenating the area around Waterloo station. The Shell site needed improvement and Southbank Place will become a new destination while also being beneficial to the local community. It’s an iconic location, which has a unique mix of residents, businesses, and visitors, and is one of the tourist hotspots of our city. Through design and the inclusivity of the public realm, Southbank Place hopes to add to the diverse and exciting culture which already exists along the South Bank.

What are the benefits of this construction for the local community in Lambeth?

The team at Southbank Place have worked extensively with local employment brokers to ensure that the development has a positive impact and creates jobs locally. Since the beginning of the year, over 100 Lambeth Borough residents have worked on the project, and almost half of employees on site live within 10 miles of the site. The team behind the development have opened a training site where construction workers can obtain CSCS qualifications, and have also taken part in initiatives such as Budding Brunels, which allows Year 12 and 13 students to undertake work experience on the site. For many, this leads to a longer-term internship, allowing them to consider whether to pursue a career in construction. The project has been underpinned by a desire to build safely and to timescales while being mindful of close neighbors.

Could you tell us about the site’s plans to reduce its carbon footprint?

When we consider carbon we look at the whole project lifecycle, from design through construction and operation.We have designed a highly efficient energy centre and district heating system that will recycle heat that would otherwise be lost.  Other technologies will include triple glazing, grey water recycling, and solar panels.

The scheme is also reusing a significant amount of the existing structure, with the Shell Tower remaining and the original basement and supporting piles being retained.  The reuse of existing structures saves on the embodied carbon of new materials. Of the structures that were demolished, over 99 percent of demolition material was diverted from landfill.

Throughout construction, we have collaborated with several organisations to help reduce our footprint.  Our onsite logistics are provided by Alandale.  The efficient and timely movement of deliveries is important from a carbon perspective, but also to minimise our impact on the local community.

Another project partner is Speedy Hire, who has set up an onsite hire shop to minimise the distance our subcontractors travel to get the tools and equipment they need to do the job.  Speedy offers a fantastic range of ‘Green Option’ environmentally-friendly products.

To measure our impact, we use the BRE SmartWaste online platform. This allows us to track a variety of performance indications including carbon, and to make interventions where required.

 

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