Nine Elms Skills Centre Mixed Use Development

The Nine Elms project is currently one of the largest regeneration programmes in the UK and is set to provide London with a brand new modern district of 20,000 new homes, 25,000 new jobs, new schools, parks, culture and the arts. Elementa are proud to have been appointed on part of the scheme for a new £100 million development comprising of the Nine Elms Skills Centre, 184 room new build Hotel and over 230 residential homes in a series of blocks ranging from 5 – 25 stories.

Efficiency is at the forefront of this project, with the college at the end of its natural life and inefficient to operate, therefore consolidating space of the existing college was the first challenge. The new college will be built on a much smaller footprint and allow the construction of the new hotel and residential developments to be built upon the extra space generated. These new developments will create necessary extra revenue to fund the skills centre.

With numerous mixed-use elements formulating the project, Elementa devised a strategy to most efficiently serve the sites as the buildings would be operated at different points of the day. The residential dwellings and hotel will be used in the night and will require the majority of services from late afternoon onwards, whilst the college will be operated during the daytime. Therefore a district heating system was decided upon, incorporating a CHP which will allow the buildings to be served most efficiently. This was closely linked with GLA aspirations. Through the summer when there is no demand on heating, the CHP can still be used to serve the demand for hot water. The CHP will have a good return on investment when compared to capital and maintenance costs of the equipment.

Elementa displayed innovation by challenging the client’s initial brief to produce a more efficient solution. The client requested the skills centre to run air conditioning throughout the building, however, Elementa provided extensive thermal modelling of different options and was able to recommend a more passive solution. By utilising phase change materials this will create cooling passively and thereby avoid overheating without the use of refrigeration energy. It also reduces ongoing operational cost. Other innovations include the inclusion of mist sprinklers in the hotel, as opposed to traditional sprinklers, which still achieve the same results but eliminate the majority of usual water damage.

Elementa worked closely with the design team to maximise residential units which is one of the main sources of income. Coordinating with the architect, services were compacted into the services void as far as possible which allowed an extra storey onto the residential block. This was also closely coordinated with the structural engineers to ensure appropriate slab thickness and coordinated services routes were adequately assessed to no detrimental effect to the ceiling heights.

Once complete, this truly transformational project will deliver a world class skills training facility which will improve the future of the local economy and give direct benefit for students, employers and the local community.

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