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42 PROJECT REPORT: RETAIL DEVELOPMENTS


ENLIVENING THE EXISTING


The project included a thorough refurbishment of the existing centre, including widening voids


cinema and car park. The refurbishment was thorough, including stripping the older design motifs, and widening some voids between the two levels to improve sight lines of retail units.


Bringing further interest to the central


space, the first floor colonnade has a GRP waveform soffit. “We’ve used colour and form to inject interest into the surfaces we have available to us,” says Cos. He sums up the approach both inside and out as trying to not upstage, but instead enhance the shop fronts: “We still want them to sing as the main point of interest, but you don’t want the background to be so monolithic that it feels dull.”


PROJECT FACTFILE


Client: Intu Architect: Leslie Jones Architecture Structural Engineer: Waterman Structures M&E: Hoare Lea


Gross floor area (extension): 400,000 ft2 Cost: £180m


The basement below the site was “a vast servicing area,” but as well as improving its efficiency, the architects also created new retail space here, a further efficient use of existing structure. “It’s so important that buildings are able to adapt and be repurposed and reconfigured, and this concrete construction didn’t really lend itself to being reconfigured,” he says. Some “clever structural works” were required to address level changes, adds the architect, and shells were created for retailers “that


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they could configure really easily.” The fact the majority of the project is naturally ventilated adds to its sustainability credentials, as does its reuse of a substantial existing building, i.e. the concrete car park and basement. However Cos Constantinou asserts that this is under-recognised by official sustainability accreditation – he notes that BREEAM “doesn’t include recognition of that.” Despite this, the project was designed to achieve BREEAM ‘Very Good.’


Conclusion


This major extension and refurbishment was finished on programme and to budget, with the full development cost being £180m including £13m for the refurbishment. Client, public and the retailers have


reacted “really positively,” says the project’s architect, adding that some of their fitouts “have really embraced what we were trying to achieve.” However while retail is at the core of this project, it represents a much richer mix of attractions and amenities to help ensure its place as a vibrant, and viable, long term proposition for the town. 


ADF NOVEMBER 2019


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