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Project Awards

Best Practice Awards 2011 - Best Project shortlist

The British Precast Best Project award is aimed at showcasing outstanding projects that were completed in 2010 and for which member supplied products were used and contributed to the project's success.

To see previous year's shortlists and winners please visit our 2010 Project Award page or the 2009 Project Award page.

Sponsored by Grace Construction Products


Bodleian Book StorageWINNER

Decomo- Bodleian Book Storage, Swindon     
The judges praised this project’s design and execution, which incorporated highly accurate and elegant precast sandwich panels to achieve an exceptional build quality on this 100-year design life facility which will store 8 million books. Concrete’s thermal mass and fire protection were put to excellent use and the positive relationship between designer and precaster was very clear to see.

Having opened back in 1602 and now with more than 11 million books already on its shelves, the Bodleian Library at Oxford University had been fast running out of space for many years. What’s more, as it receives a copy of every published work in Britain, this means finding a home for some 1000 new books every day, equivalent to three miles of shelving a year. Known as the Bodleian Book Storage Facility at South Marston, Swindon, that new home – capable of holding 8.4 million volumes on 153 miles of shelving – is now complete.

The new book warehouse will store lower usage items from the libraries’ collections that had overwhelmed the existing bookstacks and required additional temporary storage in various locations in and outside Oxford. These collections will now be brought together at the BSF, including books, maps, manuscripts microfilms, periodicals and newspapers primarily from the 18th century onwards.

Pudding Mill Pumping StationRUNNER-UP

Runner-up: Thorp Precast, Pudding Mill Lane Pumping Station     
A beautiful concrete finish and clever architectural design impressed the judges, who praised the high quality and inventiveness achieved within this modest structure. Not at all a lowly pumping station, this true exemplar of precast concrete which will be a credit to London 2012; the judges enjoyed the patterned precast facade in particular.

The pumping station in the Olympic Park connects the extensive sewer network to the existing Victorian sewers of the Northern Outfall. The shape of the building is generated from the powerful circular form of the underground well and reflects the functional aspects of the engineering. The pigmented concrete walls of the building and perimeter are cast with a relief pattern based on the Victorian engineering drawings of Joseph Bazalgette. They celebrate the engineering achievements of the sewer networks old and new, and contribute to a sense of civic pride engendered by this key infrastructure building onwards.


Explore Manufacturing - One Hyde Park     

One Hyde Park: The Residences at Mandarin Oriental, London is a prestigious residential development of over 80 hyper luxury flats located in four linked towers. The pivotal site in the centre of Knightsbridge is where the old Bowater offices once stood between the Brompton Road and Hyde Park. Edinburgh Gate the existing road link under Bowater House was relocated to the west end of the site as part of the development plan.

The developers, PGGL established a vision that demanded extreme quality and they never allowed this vision to be diluted during the delivery of the project. They appointed the architects Rogers Stirk Harbour to design the building with engineering by Arup. A number of the key suppliers and subcontractors were selected and appointed well in advance of the main contract. They worked with Laing O’Rourke and the design team to develop solutions for the interfaces. The connection between the slab and column was developed by Arup with advice from Explore and Expanded.

Whilst the design is unquestionably contemporary, the colour and texture of the materials reflect and compliment the brick and stone buildings in the adjacent streets. Exposing the structural elements is a common feature in buildings designed by Rogers and One Hyde Park is no exception in this respect. The façade is framed by precast columns and beams in a simple and regular grid.

Port of FelixstoweHIGHLY COMMENDED

Marshalls - Port of Felixstowe     

The judges were impressed by the fact that Marshalls had not only produced 13.3 million concrete paver units to a demanding technical specification, but had also delivered them to a challenging logistics programme, working with the contractor to achieve zero defects and accidents and showing extended producer responsibility and involvement.

The Port of Felixstowe’s Southern Reconfiguration is the latest development at the port, providing a new deep water container facility to accommodate the world’s largest container ships. The project has provided 730 metres of new quayside and 37 hectares of container storage area. It also increases the port’s capacity by up to 50% and additional handling of 21,000 TEU’s (containers) every year.

The pavers were supplied to site pre-packaged in their laid formation, enabling mechanical installation to significantly reduce installer exposure to excessive manual handling and its associated health & safety risks.

The pavers were manufactured and tested to an advanced mix design that exceeded the requirements of the current British Standard a requirement of the Contract.

The client and their consulting engineer recognise the benefits and whole life costs that a concrete block pavement can deliver to such a project in terms of selection of sustainable materials, flexible construction and future reinstatement works.

Green House ProjectCOMMENDED

Brett Landscaping- Green House Project    

Huntingdonshire District Council established a project, with support from the BRE, to investigate how existing domestic properties can be refurbished affordably and easily, not only to reduce carbon emissions but to provide healthier homes that are cheaper, comfortable and more efficient to run.

The work was conducted on two separate properties and will provide an essential demonstration and educational resource for home owners, housing providers, tradesmen, local suppliers and educational establishments.

As a part of the development both properties also considered the impact of surface water sun-off and site ecology. For this reason Brett permeable paving has been used on both sites to ensure the risk of flooding is minimised and water leaving the site will be of a higher quality in line with the stated aim of enhancing biodiversity on the sites.

Given that new build housing, which are covered by the Code for Sustainable Homes, only accounts for approximately 120,000 new units per year alongside the existing housing stock of around 22 million the importance of retrofitting sustainability measures to existing properties will have to form a key part of our national strategy going forwards.

Business School and Student Hub, MMUCOMMENDED

Hanson UK- Business School and Student Hub, Manchester Metropolitan University     

The new Business School and Student Hub for Manchester Metropolitan University is intended to be at the forefront of green building development in Manchester. The 20,000 sq metre building will incorporate a new Faculty and as well as a cross-university facility for 5,000 students and 250 staff including catering, social learning zones and IT drop-in spaces.

The scheme has an important site on the edge of the All Saints Campus, straddling the University district and the city. Internally, the building is arranged as three East-to-West orientated floor plates planned around two atrias. One belongs to the Business School and the other to the Hub. The building is planned to have facilities comparable to the best in current workplace design and in which circulation provides space for social interaction and the exchange of ideas.

Externally, the building is envisaged as jewel-like in its form. On plan, its trapezoid form is driven by a reaction to the geometry of site. The building not only skews on plan, it also slopes on section. The building rises up from 4 floors on its campus side to 7 floors facing the city and the busy Mancunian Way. The building design is driven by a shared ambition to create a progressive low energy University building. Thermal mass, natural daylight and controlled ventilation are the basis for creating a low energy ‘base-building’. In support, it is proposed that there will be a number of integrated energy generation features. A large photovoltaic installation is planned for the extensive South facing roof whilst ground water cooling supports the cooling requirements for IT and occupancy intensive spaces.


Greater Manchester Police HeadquartersCOMMENDED

SCC- Greater Manchester Police Headquarters     

Although based on a steel frame this project uses many products supplied throughout the precast sector including columns, beams, coffered slabs, hollowcore flooring, parapets and façade cladding panels. It is a fine example of what can be achieved with off-site fabrication.

As part of the Greater Manchester Police Force re-location to Newton Heath, Design Build Contractor SCC Ltd were appointed for the design, manufacture and erection of cladding panels to the buildings external façade.
The panel design, has been worked up from original plans and elevations provided by project architect, Aedas with panels taking their bearing some 425mm off the structural face of the building giving the effect that they are floating.

As part of its re-location plan, to move to a new state of the art Headquarters at Newton Heath, project architects Aedas on behalf of GMP, had to consider the ever increasing problem of onsite parking. This has been achieved using a piece of land sandwiched between its new Headquarters, and the shortly to be completed Metro-link line to Oldham.
The architecturally aspirations in the design of the car-park have been to clad the external façade with a mixture of white acid-etched concrete panels, similar to those on the main building, and Eyetech expanded mesh, with both items being fixed back to a single storey concrete frame. The car-park provides parking for approximately 450 vehicles.


Severn Trent CentreCOMMENDED

Techrete- Severn Trent Centre, Coventry     
The proposal for Severn Trent Centre seeks to establish a new landmark building appropriate for a new headquarters acknowledging its civic responsibility in this important location. The basic concept for Severn Trent Centre was to compliment the existing style of the Civic Centre buildings surrounding the site but to reinterpret them in a contemporary manner. This was achieved by utilising characteristic building elements and materials, with help from Techrete.

Precast concrete was selected for its solidity and strength, factors that recall traditional concepts of enclosure yet it has all the advantages and benefits of a modern prefabricated product. It is uniquely versatile with inherent energy storage potential, high thermal mass and robust long-term durability.
Precast concrete is a refinement of concrete, achieving a dimensional precision and surface quality by off-site manufacture, enabling architects to create components in a way no other material allows them to. Architectural solutions arise from the potential of materials and in the case of precast it is its three dimensional adaptability, its strength and the quality of its surface textures.

The finish specified is acid etching which is a method of removing the very thin layer of laitance, formed by the fine aggregate and cement particles from the concrete surface exposing the texture and colour of the matrix beneath.

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