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[Group 10] Commercial Office

The Group Design Projects are an educational exercise and the projects undertaken and designs developed during them should not be reported as representative of projects undertaken by or designs developed by the Supporters.

Week 4

posted 18 Jun 2012, 09:56 by Group Design Projects Imperial

Our last full week saw us finalise a whole load of structural calculations, address material quantities, decide and draw connection details, finalise a transfer structure design for our 24-storey building, total load calculations and complete the entire geotechnical engineering side of our design, including basement design and construction, retaining wall design and foundation designs.

The week has not been easy. In last week’s critical session our client gave us some hints towards our core design that were incorrect and needed to be re-addressed, which meant some of last week’s calculations had to be repeated this week, as well as all new tasks to be completed this week. We also had to remodel our transfer truss structure in 3D using Oasys GSA and look at column/beam connections as well as substructure connections and water-tightness.

The final week deadlines looming and some changes to the design mean the next few days will be tough! But we have all enjoyed the project and want to say thanks to Dr Vollum and our industrial clients from Arup, Mick White and Sarah Tattersall, for all their help.

Week 3

posted 9 Jun 2012, 06:14 by Group Design Projects Imperial

After selecting a final masterplan to continue with at the end of last week, the start of week 3 meant finalising our masterplan and starting to work quantitatively on the structural engineering side of the design! 

We tackled concrete, lateral stability, bracing, structural design and cladding calculations and designed a bridging structure across our underlying tunnels on-site. Concrete slab thicknesses were determined along with preliminary column sizes for our residential concrete floors and composite beam sizes. In addition to all this, cladding and material choices were made. With the dimensions we found we were able to start to put together detailed CAD drawings showing the final breakdown of each of the buildings.

We also looked at the traffic and pedestrian flow through our development and finalised the construction of our basement. Regarding the substructure, we designed a preliminary pile arrangement for both buildings of our development which we will comprehensively design next week! 

Side Elevation CAD drawing of development

Finalised column grid of residential-commercial building

Week 2

posted 2 Jun 2012, 08:19 by Group Design Projects Imperial

Our main objective for Week 2 was to start thinking in-depth as structural engineers. We have been detailing our client’s chosen masterplan. This involved thinking in depth about the foundations, lateral stability of the building, wind loading, as well as selecting our chosen concrete slabs and designing the column grids for each of the buildings, in particular the multi-use buildings which may feature changing column grids as a retail floor becomes a commercial floor above.
Furthermore, we have also combined the two remaining masterplans from Week 1 into a new innovative masterplan and followed the same design procedure. Initially designing the column grids and carried on to analyse the type of concrete slabs and foundations to be used.

Another task that needed to be addressed this week was concerning the underlying Crossrail tunnels and the affect the vibrations from the tunnel may have on the building and its foundation and how we must tackle this issue. To overcome the vibration propagation from the tunnel usage, we designed our own structural health monitoring system in order to monitor it. 

Our client has set a pile-offset restriction (the minimum distance between the outer edge tunnel lining and our piles) and subsequently we began an investigation into the various techniques of tackling how our foundation construction and corresponding loading would affect the tunnels. 

The approaching third week will be the most challenging yet and that is when we commence the hardcore superstructure and substructure design calculations!

Example Residential Floor Column Grid - Masterplan 2 - shared commercial/residential building

Week 1

posted 30 May 2012, 08:22 by Group Design Projects Imperial


Our project involves designing a new development around an unattractive concrete Crossrail station shaft box in the centre of the site, approx. 100m x 100m, situated in Woolwich and all above two underlying Crossrail tunnels. This therefore made it difficult to design a unique development with a unique selling point that satisfies the requirements of commercial, retail and residential space offered. The tunnels running underneath the site also make it extremely difficult, as care must be taken in the location and design of the foundations for the structure, which inevitably will be high-rise. Our development is called ‘W-Heights’.

During the first week, we started looking at influential buildings and producing preliminary designs. We then merged some of these influences and transformed them into three detailed masterplans, each considering access and travel, amenities and services, typical floor layouts, material choices, construction method/constructability and sustainable development. One masterplan presents a bold and iconic building, which includes a conference ball suspended from a sky garden between three high-rise skyscrapers. The second presents a less bold but still elegant high-rise option with two separate buildings which are trapezium shaped and are bridged by a glass structure and a couple of wind turbines. The third, and final, masterplan presented a more toned-down development using an L-shared high rise building which focused mainly on incorporating the development into the Woolwich area. 


Plan View of the Site and Artistic Impression of One of Our Preliminary Masterplan Design

From the 3 master plans, one has been selected by our client as a preferred option and then a second masterplan design is also to be developed by merging the concepts of the other two. These will then be worked on in further detail next week, looking at column grids for each floor, load transfers and the actual foundation design. 

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