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Client: H&R Properties
Building Owner: L&Q Group Housing Association

1 Bowling Green Street is a new apartment building near the Oval cricket ground. It's a retrofitted derelict 1930’s pub, which sat within the Kennington Park Estate, with an upwards extension.

Our approach for this project aimed to reuse or reclaim the elements of the existing pub, and build the new apartments directly over. A new cross-laminated timber structure now sits above the ground floor for a further 4 storeys. Elements retained in the design were the ground floor/part 1st floor brick walls and the basement, along with some reuse of the pub's salvaged bricks. The building has 9 apartments and a ground-floor commercial (office/studio) space.

It incorporates the fundamentals of low-carbon construction from first principles, and as far as possible we encourage the use of timber as sequestered carbon. Modern timber technology allowed us to go 6 storeys high, using solid timber floors and wall panels. This resulted in a carbon store of 400 Tonnes of Co2 (300T from the CLT) with an equivalent carbon saving from the usual steel/concrete alternatives of 800T of Co2. To put this in perspective, the average UK household annual emission is about 5 Tonnes of Co2 per year, or 17 years of energy consumption. This gives the building a head start of 17 years before it even reaches the zero carbon threshold.

The CLT structure provided the structure and internal walls for the building, and in addition, the cladding is 'Kebony' southern yellow pine treated timber boarding as a continuous wall and screen. Depth and texture is added by articulating the timber facade. These vertical 'fins' on the external wall continue around the southern balconies as a trellis in a “ghost” similar pattern but without the wall of the main building.

The retained basement was strengthened with a steel platform structure to support the building above. Lower parts of the existing pub were partly rebuilt or reconfigured. Above ground floor the timber cross-laminated structure was placed on a steel framed RC deck.

The CLT structure was transported by truck from Austria in six deliveries and craned into place in this very restricted urban site. With CLT, five storeys were completed in only 3 weeks. The confined site was an ideal opportunity to exploit the potential of prefabricated timber construction in the city. Once completed, the building was then insulated with fire breaks and clad in dark Kebony timber. The cladding was supplied pre-finished, and lacquered over the factory-applied fire treatment.

The new apartments sit tightly within a 1930's LDDC brick estate (Kennington Park), and the Kebony walls (with a factory-applied fire retardant) were chosen to complement the textures and colours of these elegant buildings. As they are solid and robust buildings the new timber facade is also given some depth so that it also has a gravitas not usually associated with timber. The reconfigured brick ground floor of the building gives the building a protective base necessary in such a tight urban site.

1 Bowling Green Street

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