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Susan Smith
Susan Smith
Susan Smith has worked as an editor and writer in the technology industry for over 16 years. As an editor she has been responsible for the launch of a number of technology trade publications, both in print and online. Currently, Susan is the Editor of GISCafe and AECCafe, as well as those sites’ … More »

“Innovation in Building” Be Inspired 2012 award winner

November 14th, 2012 by Susan Smith

So many of London’s train stations swept away the awards at Bentley Systems’ Be Inspired 2012 Awards tonight. Crossrail projects were a huge hit, as was the King’s Cross Station Redevelopment by John McAslan + Partners that won in the “Innovation in Building” category.

Unlike other building companies, McAslan + Partners is strictly an architectural team.

Designed in 1852 by Lewis Cubitt, the building is being restored in concert with English Heritage. The GBP 547 million redevelopment of King’s Cross Station takes an historic rail station and transports it into a modern interchange with a charming facade that fits with the historic fabric. That is one thing McAslan + Partners says they do a lot – work with an existing building that has a historic fabric and work to keep the feeling of that building for the next 100 years.

The 67 acres of brown-field land is being redeveloped to create eight million sq ft of offices, retail and housing. In 2011 Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design moved into renovated railway buildings to the north of the station.

Modern features added include solar panels for the renovated train sheds at the apex of the lanterns to lessen visual impact. These will generate 10% of the energy requirements for the station. In addition a rainwater recycling scheme provides over a third of the water used.

The King’s Cross Station has taken 14 years to complete, and during that time the architectural team has evolved with the advent of new technologies. Meanwhile the team has completed a project in Moscow, restored the music hall for the Royal Academy of Music in London and helped a devastated community in Haiti to restore order, among other accomplishments.

Cliff Green, project technology manager, says that “Architecture as process  is less about a statement.”

Despite a lot of roadblocks, simulation and reality came together when the western concourse roof representation was able to demonstrate it could rise up. This 3D representation allowed an international team to coordinate 16 steel tree form like columns that support a single-span structure in the center of a labyrinth of subway and service tunnels. This roof extends 7,500 square meters, rises to a height of 20 meters, and spans 150 meters. Environmental control was achieved by balancing the need for architectural lighting then balancing artificial light with natural lighting. “Stations are stressful enough – another example of bringing simulation and reality together,” said Green.

As far as innovation is concerned, Green says it’s about the reality not only of new pieces of architectural engineering, but to see that technology assist the old structure.

Bentley Software including MicroStation and GenerativeComponents (GC) were used at every stage, but there was also a lot of hand drawing done in the conceptual stages because the architect felt it lent itself to the design.

Besides the obvious aesthetic beauty of this design, the project is benefitting from a schematic design extending all the way through the  construction process, that ultimately saves time and costs.

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Categories: Bentley Systems, BIM

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