Winner — SKA Anthony Hunt - The Core at the Eden Project
This was always going to be the frontrunner in this category. The Eden Project has become a national showcase for state-of-the-art structures, and this was no exception. The 100ft span of glulam timber roof was cut by computer in the form of the equiangular spiral found throughout nature, from sunflower seeds to galaxies. This was combined with the latest environmental technologies to make one of the most complex and sustainable structures ever built in Britain. The building control team from Restormel council can be proud of their part in making such a futuristic concept fit with regulations that were written long before projects such as this were dreamed of.
Alumet Systems - St James’s Hospital, Leeds
The £2.6m facade of St James' hospital is also a fine example of how one innovation brings multiple benefits for the entire project. It was fixed using the company’s own system. Research has established that this saves 48p a square metre compared with brick or block construction. Oh, and it slashed construction time by 65%.
C&M Architects - Psychiatric intensive care unit
The patients were to have a building that would complement their therapy, but Home Office rules required a 4m high security fence with an oversail. The solution was to create an elliptical floor plan that placed the focus of the unit on a tranquil garden. The effect was enhanced by the use of Quadlock shuttering, which created a Swiss chalet effect, while the oversail added a brise-soleil.
Countryside Properties - Westpoint apartments
This project resulted in the construction of 69 mixed-tenure apartments in Harringay, north London. The overall project combined strikingly complex architectural form with eye-catching zinc and copper cladding. The main structural innovation was the use of reinforced concrete to allow huge balconies to be added to the flats. The result is a development that was completed within its £7.25m budget, but looks like it costs twice that.
Derbyshire council - Mundy junior school
This school was intended to be a model of how off-site manufacturing could increase economy and efficiency. This it did, thanks to “dry” construction techniques, including attractive external wall panels faced in terracotta tiles, and an aluminium roof. Early consultation with building control allowed this solution to be carried out without compromising the design. The result was a model answer that other councils are free to crib.
Miller Construction - Pescod Square
Boston in Lincolnshire next, and a project to move a 15th-century timber-frame building 60m. The reason for so doing was to provide a focus for Pescod Square, a shopping development that was itself the centre of a wider regeneration project. The upshot was that four months of planning culminated in 20 minutes of action, after which Boston had the keystone of its regeneration sorted.
LABC Awards October 2006
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Best structural innovation