Our work at Waterhouse Gardens is a perfect example of our engineering philosophy of designing efficient structures, eliminating wasteful overengineering and embracing a unified design.
The Waterhouse Gardens project, a transformation of the historic Boddington’s Brewery site into a luxurious £195 million development is a residential project that will bring beautifully modern apartment living to a highly desirable part of Manchester city centre.
Delivered for our client, Salboy, Waterhouse Gardens is a blend of modern living with a touch of heritage. The project is located on the site previously inhabited by Boddingtons Brewery until its closure in 2005. Following the demolition of the buildings on site in 2007, it has lain uninhabited for over nearly two decades, and is ready for this new lease of life. Salboy already sports an impressive reputation for delivering some of Manchester’s most in-demand residential developments, and Waterhouse Gardens will soon sit amongst such developments as the Viadux project, Castle Irwell and Local Blackfriars to name but a few.
The project comprises a 23-story, two 15-storey, two 10-storey buildings, and a two-storey structure. In delivering the cutting-edge residential complex, several major engineering challenges stood in the way. Namely, the site’s compact nature requiring a considered approach to build logistics and the significant 10-meter level variance across the narrow, 50m site.
It was these issues that required our careful and considered engineering approach to assist in unlocking the sites potential with practicality and commercial sensitivity front and centre.
Challenge 1: Level discrepancy across the site
The substantial level difference across the site posed a significant engineering challenge, requiring a well-thought-out solution to ensure the structural integrity and functionality of the development.
Our proactive approach led to us designing two retaining walls to address the 10-meter level difference. This approach was deemed more efficient and buildable compared to other potential solutions, such as constructing a single higher retaining wall. Setting out a detailed plan including aspects like loadings, setting out, and material properties, provides a solid foundation for the entire structure and construction sequencing.
Challenge 2: Navigating a constrained site
The proximity of nearby buildings and the site’s compact nature necessitated an innovative solution for the foundation that would not compromise the structural integrity of the surrounding buildings, statutory services and highways assets.
We suggested the inclusion of a basement level, which provided a positive and robust answer a to the constraint which could be integrated into the project’s operational function. This area was factored into the plans by the architect and the client, providing a proactive outcome in addressing this site constraint.
Our approach to optimising the column grid
Because we engaged early with the architects, we were able to set the scene in determining the optimal setting out of columns, taking into account architectural considerations, buildability, and cladding requirements.
Also, through close liaison with the specialist lift contractor, we ensured accurate placement of lift shafts and associated coves seamlessly integrating them into the structural design. This proactive engagement allowed for a design that met architectural, buildability, and cladding considerations, ensuring a smooth onsite construction process.
A new lease of life for a historic site
The transformation journey of Waterhouse Gardens echoes renaissance’s proactive and collaborative engineering ethos. By addressing challenges head-on and proposing pragmatic solutions from the outset, we ensure not only adherence to the project’s vision but also foster a harmonious collaboration among all stakeholders, ensuring the project’s success from both structural and functional perspectives.
Photo credit – Studio Power Architects and Salboy