City Park West, Chelmsford

PTE were commissioned to master-plan the re-development of the former Anglia Ruskin University campus in 2008. The site is located next to major transport interchanges and is the principal arrival point into Chelmsford. The masterplan for the 7 acre site provides over 600 new homes, a new superstore and other retail spaces, over 8000m2 of commercial office space and community facilities. The master-plan also includes the refurbishment and restoration of several important historic buildings.

Manhire Associates were engaged by Bouygues in 2012 to work on the first phase of development next to the railway station to develop designs for a double level basement car-park serving 2 apartment buildings arranged around a landscaped courtyard together with the refurbishment of the Anne Knight and Frederick Chancellor buildings as well as a new steel framed office building retaining the façade of the existing Law Building. With a range of both new-build construction and existing buildings requiring sensitive refurbishment with minimal intervention to quite extensive structural alterations and extensions, the development posed many challenges. The apartment buildings sit over a deep basement which is directly adjacent to the Network Rail line serving London, as well as adjacent buildings with shallow foundations such as the Anne Knight Building. A high and variable ground water regime, re-routing of utilities across the site, the façade retention to the Law Building, the attenuation of surface water drainage and alterations to the highways serving the development were all factors that were not only carefully addressed in the design but also informed the sequencing of the construction.

The apartment buildings themselves, with long cantilevers and a colonnade at podium level, coupled with finely detailed brick-work facades required the development of a variety of structural solutions with ‘off-set’ and ‘walking’ columns adopted where possible to avoid transfer structures. Care was taken in detailing the external wall and the various junctions at ‘in-set’ and projecting balconies and undertaking detailed deflection assessments were critical. The brickwork facades incorporated reveals and soffits in brick as well as a variety of types of bonding. After reviewing options, the Corium slip system was the preferred approach which minimized secondary steelwork as well as the need for brick reinforcement, ties and forms.    

The Anne Knight building is Grade 2 listed and is of historical interest – the Quakers held meetings in the building dating back to 1824. The building is a focal point in Chelmsford and situated directly opposite the Station. Proposals were developed to introduce a mezzanine floor in steelwork and to replace the existing suspended ground floor construction allowing new services to be installed with minimal intervention creating a   large flexible ‘multi-use’ space in the centre of Chelmsford.

The façade to the existing 3 storey Law Building was retained as part of the proposals which was restrained by a new 5 storey steel framed building with 3 floors of offices below 2 storeys of apartments set-back at roof level.

The first phase opposite the railway station is now complete with 5 buildings handed over to Genesis, with apartments, houses, commercial and retail space complimenting the Anne Knight, Frederick Chancellor and Law Buildings. The development plays a key role in the borough’s plans to regenerate the west end of Chelmsford and linking Central Park to the south of the site.

In 2015, the development won a Brick Award and an RTPI Award for Planning Excellence.

  • Leisure & Retail
  • Offices
  • Urban Regeneration
  • Residential
  • Acoustics & noise
  • Brownfield
  • Building next to Rail assets
  • Deep Basements
  • Façade Retention
  • Geo-Environmental
  • Ground Movements
  • Listed Buildings
  • Refurbishments
  • Roads & Highways
  • SUDS
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