Grainhouse: A Celebration of Heritage in Covent Garden – Latest
Grainhouse has completed its transformation from a complex of five heritage buildings, into a state-of the-art office development for client Hines. The project involved the sensitive restoration and reconfiguration of the existing structures, as well as the addition of new double-storey extensions on each building, creating a cohesive and contemporary workplace that respects the character and history of the site.
James Souter, Director at Elliott Wood, said: “Grain House has stitched together and transformed five heritage buildings into one high-end, characterful workplace. Our engineering solutions were tailored to the unique characteristics and condition of each building, utilising the existing structure where possible to ensure the character of the existing buildings was retained. New interventions are considered and light touch, ensuring Grain House has all the quality amenities expected in this prime location but is sensitive to its context.”
Stitched Together with Bespoke Engineering Solutions
Elliott Wood used bespoke engineering solutions for each of the retained buildings. For two of them, the existing load-bearing cast iron columns could not be strengthened and were designed around, introducing a new internal steel frame to support the additional massing above. For another two buildings, the existing structure was justified with minimal strengthening works and by limiting the weight of the additional massing at roof level. For the fifth building, only the facade and basement were retained, and the internal structure was demolished and replaced with a new steel frame. A new central lift and stair core provides further stability to the new structure and enhances existing stability.
Whole life carbon calculations were conducted by Elliott Wood, showing the works for the redevelopment have emitted 384 kgCO2/m2, well below both the RIBA 2030 target of <750 kgCO2/m2 and the more stringent GLA requirement of ≤600 kgCO2e/m2.
The reconfiguration of the buildings has created an open-plan office space with a new central entrance and circulation space, as well as new connections between buildings. Elliott Wood worked closely with the architects, Barr Gazetas, to confirm where doorways and openings could be formed in existing masonry walls while maintaining stability and limiting settlement. To accommodate new double-storey extensions on each building, Elliott Wood used reinforced lightweight concrete metal deck slabs for the new floors, a steel frame and localised strengthening works on the existing structure and foundations.
Grainhouse is a testament to Elliott Wood’s expertise in delivering innovative and sustainable engineering solutions for complex and challenging heritage projects.