The refurbishment of an existing 1960s reinforced concrete framed shopping centre comprising of 18 retail units and eight restaurants, located in one of the most vibrant shopping destinations in the Home Counties.
Surrey’s county town of Guildford is one of the most vibrant shopping destinations in the Home Counties with an annual retail spend of more than £900m. The town’s extensive upmarket retail offering has recently been enhanced with the opening of the new Tunsgate Quarter project.
The refurbishment of an existing 1960s reinforced concrete framed shopping centre. Overall, the 7,400m² Tunsgate Quarter comprises 18 retail units and eight restaurants. A new air cushion roof has been added to allow natural light to flow into the central areas of the Quarter, while a feature steel staircase links the new levels.
The facades and wings of the old centre have been retained while demolishing internal parts around the open central square and adding back three new steel-framed floorplates. Structural steelwork was the preferred design solution to create these new floors. It required a lightweight frame and thin floor slabs so as not to overload the existing foundations. The original foundations bear directly onto natural chalk bedrock and further investigations allowed us to justify significantly higher bearing capacities to virtually eliminate the need for foundation strengthening. Whilst the foundations may have been re-used with no extra work needed, the basement columns supporting the new steel frame over have had to be strengthened using twin steel channels.
As well as adding floor levels to one side of the project’s open central square, steelwork has also been used to create balconies and walkways that link to the new levels from the existing concrete areas. The walkway beams were the largest and heaviest pieces with spans of up to 15m achieved with a limited structural zone of just under 500mm.
The project has been a challenging one, bringing new life into 1920’s and 1960’s buildings which have already been altered over the years. None of the original drawings were available so all base information had to be researched and modelled from scratch. The design was then reconfirmed and adapted where necessary as the site strip and main demolition work progressed. Retail is all about constantly refreshing the offer. On this project, the team has successfully extended that philosophy through to breathe new life into an entire shopping centre.