Vine Street



Market Sector: Residential

Client: Urbanest

Engineer: Robert Bird Group

Main Contractor: Balfour Beatty

Architect: APT

Urbanest, Vine Street is a mixed-use development providing 654 student beds, alongside 5,500m2 of Grade-A offices and space for start-up businesses.

The project consists of four towers, three of which are concrete-framed, while a fourth is a steel-framed six-storey structure. Also included in the scheme is a three-storey museum, exhibiting some previously concealed remains of a bastion tower and part of the 4th Century wall that once encircled Roman London. These archaeological remains were the main driver for the design of a large steel transfer structure to support the accommodation block above. Prior to the steelwork erection beginning, the Roman remains were encased in order to prevent any damage during the construction programme. Bourne also tweaked the connection design of the steelwork beams so all of the bolts could be tightened from outside of the sensitive area. To create the column-free space over the remains, two parallel 17.5m-long girders were installed at first floor level. As they are positioned in the middle of the transfer structure at the furthest point from any vehicular access point, there was a need to redesign these members in order to limit the size of crane needed to lift them into place. The girders were consequently formed from channels, which were spliced together in-situ, to form a 25t section.

The northern section of the structure that spans the Roman remains accommodates a three-storey gallery and museum with an underground public viewing platform, café and exhibition space. The southern half of the steel transfer structure also contains some long spans and accommodates a ground floor student reception area fronting Vine Street, and two basement levels containing space for entrepreneurial start-up businesses, and back-of-house facilities such as bicycle storage areas and a loading bay.