Engineering | Kings Place

Kings Place Event Calendar

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July 2014
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January 2015
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March 2015
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April 2015
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May 2015
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June 2015
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July 2015
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August 2015
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September 2015
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October 2015
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November 2015
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December 2015
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January 2016
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February 2016
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March 2016
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April 2016
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May 2016
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June 2016
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Chamber Classics Unwrapped

Travel to Kings Place

Engineering

One of the great challenges of the Kings Place development was the stipulation that the building should rise no higher than seven storeys. Therefore, in order to maximize space on the site, a very deep basement was created. In fact the Kings Place basement is unusually deep and required a propped diaphragm wall 25 metres high. This creates three usable levels of accommodation, occupying a depth of 17 metres. Thanks to the use of such innovative engineering by Arup and Sir Robert McAlphine, Kings Place has achieved the deepest single propped basement that has ever been built in London.

The large column-free voids to contain the auditoria and gallery called for three large transfer structures to be cast in reinforced concrete. Above the ground-floor slab, the office floors were erected by slip-forming concrete cores to the height of the building.

The main auditorium was built as a box within a box. The inner box was assembled from a steel frame of beams and columns. The soundproof outer box was constructed from two leaves of high-density concrete block work supporting a concrete lid. The inner box, including the steel columns, was entirely encased by specialist joinery contractor Swift Horsman in high-density fibreboard panels 50mm thick and finished in European oak veneer just 0.8mm thick. The oak veneer covering the wall and ceiling surfaces of the auditorium, and also the doors, desks and seat backs, was cut from one immense 500-year-old tree from a forest in Bavaria (see under the section, Design).

Another challenge was the erecting of the Jura limestone facades facing the canal because there was insufficient space along the waterfront to put up the scaffolding needed to lay the ashlar on site. Therefore the stone was cut to size at the quarry in Germany and then transported to Trent Concrete's works in Nottingham. Here it was pre-assembled into large panels with in situ concrete backing. The panels were offloaded from a nearby minor road on to canal barges, which were then floated to the side of the building and the panels lifted into position.