Moonraker Alley, Southwark

Student Accommodation

This was the first of many successful projects to be embarked on under the strategic alliance we have with Unite Students – a partnership stretching back to 2006.

This project involved the construction of two eight-storey reinforced concrete framed buildings to provide 660 student bedrooms. Furthermore, two levels of commercial space had to be incorporated at the ground floor and mezzanine level as well as a large basement with plant space, a car park and cycle storage.

From the start our aim was to design an economic and resourceful building. The superstructure consisted of 225mm reinforced concrete flat slabs. The project incorporated high level ‘floating pods’, which posed significant structural challenges. Walsh moved away from the intuitive steel frame solution and developed an alternative using reinforced concrete, which avoided a ‘follow on’ trade. The concrete solution incorporated 6m high ‘deep beams’ coordinated into the facade. We also developed 4m-cantilevered balconies that ‘hang’ from the roof level to add aesthetic appeal and valuable amenity space to the project.

The timings on this project were incredibly tight. Therefore we developed a raft foundation solution, which utilised the underlying gravels and removed the need for piles. This required detailed finite analysis of the soil structure interaction, especially considering the water table was just a few hundred millimetres below the raft. We also designed the basement works ‘up front’ which allowed the earthworks to progress whilst the main building above was being designed. The complete design went from stage C to ‘start on site’ in 8 weeks, knocking 3 months off the programme. This allowed the project to be delivered for the 2011 intake of students, providing the client with an extra years rent from the accommodation.

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Key Facts

  • Client: Unite Students
  • Location: London
  • Year: 2012

Key Contact

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