projects /

Walker’s Court

Location

Soho, London

Client

Soho Estates

Architect

SODA Studios

Completion

June 2019

Project Summary & Objective

Walker’s Court is currently in its final stages on site and will be completed in June 2019. The exciting redevelopment of Walker’s Court will feature the revival of the famous Boulevard Theatre (complete with revolving auditorium), restaurants, boutique shops, nightclubs and bars, plus residential apartments and new headquarters for Soho Estates.

The development consists of two blocks on a constricted 50,000 sq. ft site and posed a number of structural design challenges for the Tier Consult team, who were tasked with designing a new structure around an existing tenant, as well as fully utilizing the available space.

Key Challenges

The two blocks are connected by a new glass bridge and a basement link.
The Architect’s design requirements for the glass bridge specified a clean glass box on two levels without glass beams or stiffeners.

Differential settlement and differential lateral movement of the bridge supports, as a result respectively of ground consolidation and differential wind loading on the connected blocks, needed to be accommodated without inducing any overstress (or cracking) in the glass structure of the bridge.

One of the main features of the development is a two-storey staircase. The client required the staircase to have a slender structure and support itself without the assistance of strings. The challenge for Tier was to determine the likely response in terms of movements and accelerations and assess whether it was likely that the level of response would be acceptable.

As a mixed-use development, the mix of uses within Walker’s Court created a number of noise issues, particularly between the nightclub, theatre and adjoining residential flats. The challenge for Tier and the design team as a whole was to ensure that the noise generated in each of the different uses were all acoustically separated from other users.

Solution

To avoid the need for glass beams and to achieve the desired “clean finish”, Tier proposed utilizing the interior leaf of the double-glazing façade to support the walkway without the need for down stand glass beams. The bridge deck itself was constructed of three sheets of glass, to give the required structural resilience, with a sacrificial layer added to the surface to accommodate long term wear and tear inflicted by theatre goers. Tier worked closely with Cantifix (the specialist glazing supplier) to deliver this elegant solution-meeting all of the Client’s and Architect’s aspirations.

To assess the stair’s response, Tier used time history analysis to predict the likely movements and accelerations of the stair. It was then possible to compare the stair’s predicted response with measurements taken during visits to similarly lively bridge and stair structures. This insured that, prior to committing to any manufacturing, the client and others in the design team, had an understanding of the likely “feel” of the new stair’s likely response.

To ensure the acoustic separation of the theatre, nightclub and residential accommodation, Tier, in conjunction with acoustic specialists, developed bespoke steel and concrete connections incorporating acoustic isolation materials, designed a ‘floating’ slab on resilient pads to the underside of the theatre and separate floor and ceiling structures, over the theatre, to create for the theatre an acoustically isolated “Box in Box”. These challenging structural / acoustic measures allow the different uses of the development to successfully co-exist.

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