Client: Imperial College, London & Bleinheim Chalcot Our Role: Full Architectural Services Construction: £25 million (Phase I) Completion: Facilities: Flexible office, research and development spaces, communal lobby, welcome and café space at ground floor. Appointment: Area: Awards: Photography:
Imperial College London’s Meanwhile Space scheme provides flexible accommodation for high-tech, high-growth businesses on is 23 acre White City Campus. The delivery of 25,486 sqm of employment-generating accommodation for specialist companies associated with research and development, technology and education. In order to meet the clients brief, the design has developed into three 4 storey buildings which provide a mix of flexible office, research and development spaces as well as specialist clean room laboratory environments. Other uses in the space comprise a communal lobby, welcome and café space at ground floor.
The project takes up an unusual position within a wider master plan for the area. Although the three buildings will be the first elements to kick start the overall development, they have been developed with a limited lifespan in mind. The buildings together with temporary access, landscaping and associated works have been designed for a 15 year lifespan, which once complete will be de-constructed allowing for the future White City Campus South buildings to come forward.
The ‘temporary’ status of the scheme and the need for an extremely fast pace programme, has led to modular construction methods taking preference over traditional construction. The high quality finishing and efficiencies which can be achieved within the factory, prior to delivery on site has greatly decreased the overall programme meaning that despite its size, the first Building A can be constructed within a 52 week programme.
Nevertheless high quality design and detailing is key to the successful delivery of this scheme, as it is the first stage of an overarching master plan development. The materiality has been chosen for its unique, versatile nature, which enriches the quality of the proposal providing an aesthetically pleasing contemporary architectural composition which is both vibrant and striking, whilst remaining within the client’s cost plan. The use of simple, yet effective corrugated sheet metal cladding has been paired with a bold, gold woven perforated metal which acts as a screen for the centrally located plant areas which serve all three buildings as they are constructed in a linear phasing strategy.
The cost plan for this development has been heavily scrutinised throughout the planning and technical stages with rigorous value engineering exercises taking place at various stages, however with well-designed and detailed elements, along with advanced construction technologies and out expertise in this field, the overall scheme has been designed to meet all the clients requirements for time, and cost effectiveness without sacrificing the quality of the scheme. The introduction of modular construction has allowed for higher quality control check processes within a factory setting, which if were being evaluated in-situ onsite would add cost and time to the programme.