Kingston University Town House

29 Sep 2020

On Monday 10th August The Concrete Centre held a seminar featuring Kingston University Town House which played out to a ‘packed’ virtual audience. 

Elaine Toogood, head of architecture at The Concrete Centre listened in and particularly enjoyed listening to Matt McCulloch of Grafton Architects talk about the development of the design strategy for the project – the practice’s first in the UK. “I particularly enjoyed the approach of integrating building and landscape, creating ‘hanging gardens’ at upper levels within the colonnade”, she stated. 

“The project is an excellent example of a lean, low carbon approach to construction using concrete – with an exposed, efficient structure and low carbon concrete mixes. The seminar gave the opportunity to understand some of the detailed development of the concrete: the mixes used, surface texture and expression of junctions from architect, engineer and contractor (Grafton Architects, AKTII and PCE Ltd).

But also how the use of a BIM model and early engagement with the construction team benefited the process of developing, co-ordinating and assembling the offsite structure”.

The Town House at Kingston University is a new mixed-use teaching building containing a library, dance studios, theatre and adaptable learning spaces. The building was opened in early 2020 and is designed to be used by both town and gown. The concrete frame and colonnade are exposed precast concrete to minimise finishes and to take advantage of the structure’s thermal mass.

The solution for the interior frame uses precast columns arranged on a 6.4m grid running along the front of the building. Where longer spans were required, these were achieved using precast, pre-stressed “double T” beams. The double T system is more commonly used for multi-storey car park design, but were used here in combination with a reinforced structural screed to deliver a very efficient solution in terms of material usage - it was called by the project team a "bony design". 

The seminar featured presentations from project team members from architect (Grafton Architects), structural engineer (AKTII), and frame contractor (PCE).

The event is now available on the Sustainability Series previous event recordings page where it can be viewed at any time. 

The Town House was also a main feature in the summer issue of Concrete Quarterly magazine