The Standard Hotel, London


Structural Steel Design Awards 2020 - Commendation

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A former Camden Council office building has been transformed into The Standard, London, a contemporary, boutique 266 key hotel with sustainability and low carbon at the heart of its conversion.

The initial brief was to analyse the development potential of the 1970s building and assist the client in preparing their bid to purchase the site. A full Revit model of the existing building was created from archive drawings to understand the risks and opportunities within the existing structure, and the potential benefits of retention rather than a rebuild. The conclusion reached was that the building could be retained, refurbished and enhanced as a hotel.

Extensive research into the existing structure was undertaken along with intrusive and extensive testing of the capacity of the structure, foundations and ground to reveal their spare capacity. The result was that the concrete frame and under-reamed piles would allow the conversion of the building and the addition of a three-story extension.

The design solution to support the new ninth to 11th floors was to provide new steel perimeter columns from the first-floor transfer slab. This was the simplest structure with a direct load path and reused the existing foundation capacity. Adding the three storeys, a 30% increase to the weight of the building, only required discrete strengthening to four existing columns.

The new floors comprise 150mm-thick composite slabs supported by, and acting compositely with, steel beams. In order to limit beam depths, UC sections were used as beams for most spans.

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The steel beams are supported by steel columns, with sway frames above the eighth floor providing stability to the extension. Perimeter steel columns installed through the existing building from the first to eight floors continue through the additional floors to the 11th floor. These were threaded like needles through the existing waffle slabs to the first-floor transfer slab.

The use of steel enabled the new floors to be lightweight and shallow depth while adhering to tight hotel vibration criteria and a long span existing office column grid below.

The existing façade is constructed of highly durable load bearing precast concrete units which were restored and thermally improved, reducing capital costs and providing significant embodied carbon savings. The top three storeys of the building are clad in PVD coated stainless steel over aluminium framing with double glazed units, which are lightweight, durable and can be disassembled, making them flexible for future use.

Architect Orms
Structural Engineer Heyne Tillett Steel
Main Contractor McLaren Construction
Client Crosstree Real Estate Partners LLP

Judges' comment

Through forensic analysis of the existing building and highly intelligent design responses, this project showcases the role of structural steel in repurposing and enlarging this existing building, maximizing the retention of embodied carbon and creating a new landmark at the end of one of the capital’s principal arteries.