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MORE ABOUT: Palestra – London, United Kingdom

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197 Blackfriars Road
London, United Kingdom SE1

Built: 2004-2006
Architects: SMC Alsop
Structural Engineer: Buro Happold
Main Contractor: Skanska (Design-Build)
Project Managers: Richard Ellis
Facade Specialist: Permasteelisa
SMC Alsop Project Team: Will Alsop, Duncan Macaulay, Wolfgang Frese, Alison Sampson, Uwe Frohmader, Neil Pusey, Pooja Asher, Ala Pratt
Total Area: 405,000 square feet
Net internal area: 295,000 square feet

Palestra gives a dramatic illusion of two floating boxes with cantilevered upper floors, a seventh-story terrace, and “Aslop-esque legs” for support:
(photo courtesy SMC Alsop)

Palestra’s unique and innovative facade system features double glazed flush walls with grey, white and black vertical elements with punctuated blocks of sunshine yellow. [1] The cantilever caused by an offset between the boxes was achieved without any diagonal elements in the facade. [2,4]
(photo from RIBA Journal page 61)

“With Palestra, we calculated that the gains associated with installing an external shading system were negligible relative to the benefits that could be gained from applying low ‘e’ coatings and frits to the surface of the glass itself,” says Buro Happold. [1] Palestra was required to comply with specific regulations regarding energy loss, solar gain, and acoustic insulation.
(The Architects’ Journal, page 42-43)

Palestra site plan:
(The Architects’ Journal, page 33)

Cross section and long section:
(The Architects’ Journal, page 33)

A steel frame contains continuous steel beams arranged in pairs and attached to tubular columns. The beams have circular openings for flexibility and servicing requirements. In addition, the column construction has such a high strength that a secondary fire protection was not necessary. The structure is designed to support 14 micro wind turbines and photovoltaic panels on the roof, which reduce the office building’s operational energy. [3]
(Palestra construction)

(Palestra, Buro Happold)

Case study by: Anna Hernandez
ARE 320K, Fall 2010

Other sources (UT Library):
[1] “The Bland on the Run.” RIBA Journal (English ed.) February 2007 v.114 n.2: 61-62.
[2] “SMC Alsop, Palestra.” The Architects’ Journal (English ed.) October 2006 v.224 n.12: 25-39, 41-43.
[3] “Palestra, Blackfriars Road, London.” 2008.
[4] “Palestra London.” 2007.

Written by Anna Hernandez

September 15, 2010 at 4:03 pm

Posted in Uncategorized