February 18, 2018

Planning consent granted for major London residential scheme


The first residential phase of a major regeneration scheme that will include a new football stadium in west London has been given the go-ahead by planners.

The £300m Brentford Community Stadium project will see the development of a new 17,000-seat stadium designed by AFL for Brentford FC as well as a landmark residential development designed by Broadway Malyan.

Working with Be Living, the practice has designed a family of signature buildings comprising the first 487 residential units that reflect the prominent status of the site while creating a welcoming new residential quarter which revitalises the area and unlocks the investment in the new stadium.

The Brentford Community Stadium falls within the London Borough of Hounslow’s Golden Mile, an area identified as a key economic asset for the borough and London as a whole with the potential to become a world-class, vibrant, employment corridor within the capital.

With the stadium at its centre, the masterplan proposals for ‘The Golden Mile’ will deliver improved transport links, almost 30,000 new jobs, more than 1,500 new homes, a west London digital media hub, new schools and a leisure hub around the new stadium.

Broadway Malyan director Peter Vaughan, who is leading the project for the practice, said the scheme would create an exciting, vibrant and connected neighbourhood in one of London’s up and coming boroughs.

He said: “There is an increasing trend of people wanting to live in high quality, denser, multi-use and seamlessly integrated environments that reflect the changing aspirations of people’s urban lifestyles.

“The project will completely reshape this part of London, creating an attractive new community that will marry high quality architecture, public spaces and amenities, all underpinned by the energy that will be created by the new community stadium.”

Peter said that the heritage of the football club and the ways these references were interwoven into the local character were a major influence on the proposals for the site.

He said: “The atmosphere of the football club is celebrated and integrated with the community stadium at the heart of the scheme while the presence of the nearby railway lines have directly influenced the way in which the site will be revealed to its context in the years to come.

“The design narrative has been strongly influenced by the varied urban character of the area. Kew Bridge and its surroundings is characterised by the presence of strong beacons of Victorian rail and engineering and the architecture of the new buildings aims to echo this muscularity and solidity.

“Together with the solid structural lines inspired by the railway architecture, creative direction has been drawn from the strong character of the nearby Museum of Water and Steam and deconstructed to form the prevailing rhythms of the new architectural language so that what was once solid mass is now expressed as lightness and accents on elements of the facades.”

A demolition programme on the site has now been completed with the build phase set to begin on the stadium and the first residential buildings in the early 2018.


New report shows imports of high-risk plants and firewood must be brought to an end within five years


Imports of high-risk plants and firewood must be brought to an end within five years, to safeguard the health of UK forests, according to a new report by industry body Confor.

The UK’s elm, larch and ash trees have all been devastated by imported pests and diseases, and there are many more which threaten both timber businesses and native wildlife.

Confor’s new report, available here, outlines the problems and identifies how to resolve them.

One of the threats is imported plants in soil-filled pots, widely used by gardeners and landscapers. These enter the country with few checks or regulations and pose serious risks of containing invasive beetles, fungi, bacteria or other pathogens.

Another challenge is the 3,000 tonnes of firewood imported into the UK every month. This can be done safely if the bark is removed and the wood fully dried. However, in a sample of consignments inspected last year, more than a quarter did not meet the required standards.

Phasing out firewood imports will have wider benefits for the health of the UK’s native broadleaf woodlands, as well as protecting them from disease. A scheme to bring woodlands into management for firewood would supply this product from home-grown sources.

Confor England manager Caroline Harrison said, “Managing native woodland by thinning makes them better for wildlife by diversifying their structure and allowing in light – and encourages remaining trees to grow better to capture carbon and provide quality timber.”

Any seedling trees imported for the forestry sector are covered by the Forest Reproductive Material regulations, ensuring traceability and control. But the sector is committed to working with policymakers to phase these out within five years.

Fiona Angier of the Confor Nursery Producers Group said, “Forest managers, forest nurseries and landowners represented by Confor are agreed that the only plant material we should be importing is seed, but achieving this requires improvements in the way forest planting is approved.

“It takes 2-3 years to grow the young trees for a new forest. But the uncertainty of forestry grant schemes often means that millions of trees must be planted within a window of a few months, and the number of trees planted fluctuates wildly from year to year. Nurseries, who often have to burn stock at the end of the season, cannot maintain large-scale surpluses in case of a shortfall, so the industry is obliged to import plants to fulfil orders.”

Image: © Copyright M J Richardson and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

SWECO wins acclaim for improving carbon literacy in the engineering sector


Leading engineering publication New Civil Engineer (NCE) has heralded Sweco’s achievements in improving carbon literacy in the sector, in a special report on the state of the sector’s approach to addressing climate change.

In its “Crunching Carbon” report, NCE highlighted the impressive results that have followed Sweco embracing the ‘Carbon Conversations” initiative and adapting it for the infrastructure sector.

The behavioural change programme improves carbon literacy and teaches participants to create carbon reduction action plans in their own specialisms. More than 5,000 people in the UK have been through the Carbon Conversations sessions and they have subsequently driven a carbon saving of over 1t of CO2e per person per annum.

The initiative has already earned Sweco a shortlisting in NCE’s 2017 Low Carbon Leader award and in 2015 we won the Energy Institute’s Energy Champion and Environment Award for our work with the Anglian Water @one Alliance.

Lewis Barlow, Technical Director at Sweco, said: “With the infrastructure sector accounting for most greenhouse gas emissions in the UK, we have a vital part to play as engineers and designers to avert potentially disastrous climate change.

“Sustainability is central to our culture at Sweco. From the pre-emptive implementation of the PAS2080 carbon management standard and EIA climate change regulations, to innovative approaches like Carbon Conversations that encourage behavioural change, we are committed to continuing to lead in this crucial area.

“This endorsement from New Civil Engineer is a welcome testament to our hard work and dedication to carbon reduction.”

To find out more, about our sustainable approach, click here. 


Adelaide contemporary shortlisted architects welcomed and competition jury announced

The six star design teams vying to win the Adelaide Contemporary International Design Competition were welcomed to Adelaide with an Aboriginal welcome by Kaurna Elder, Frank Wanganeen, earlier this week. This week , Jay Weatherill MP, Premier of South Australia and Minister for the Arts, addressed them as they prepared for a site visit and briefing.

On Monday, the architects were offered a formal Welcome to Country, an Aboriginal greeting for newcomers that dates back thousands of years.

Adelaide is located on the traditional lands of the Kaurna people and the project site, close to the Art Gallery of South Australia and part of the former Royal Adelaide Hospital site, is rich in Kaurna heritage.

Adelaide Contemporary, a new landmark on Adelaide’s celebrated North Terrace boulevard, next to the Adelaide Botanic Garden, will combine a contemporary art gallery with a public sculpture park. The initiative is key to regeneration agency Renewal SA’s vision to transform the site. It will be a focus for the city’s cultural energies and also include a community meeting place, integrating art, education, nature and people.

The high-profile shortlisted teams, who all include international and Australian collaborations and were announced last month, include: Adjaye Associates (London, UK) and BVN (Sydney, Australia); BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group (Copenhagen, Denmark) and JPE Design Studio (Adelaide, Australia); David Chipperfield Architects (London, UK) and SJB Architects (Sydney, Australia); Diller Scofidio + Renfro (New York, USA) and Woods Bagot (Adelaide, Australia); HASSELL (Melbourne, Australia) and SO-IL (New York, USA); and Khai Liew (Adelaide, Australia), Office of Ryue Nishizawa (Tokyo, Japan) and Durbach Block Jaggers (Sydney, Australia).

The Government of South Australia through Arts South Australia and the Art Gallery of South Australia also announced the jury that will interview the teams and select a winner at the jury meeting in May.

Peter Louca, Executive Director, Arts South Australia, said:

 “We are delighted to announce the full jury, a collegiate group of Australian and international thought-leaders in architecture, landscape, community engagement, curatorial knowledge and project delivery, chaired by Michael Lynch.

 “We are grateful for their commitment – such is the quality of the finalist teams that we expect choosing a winner to be a demanding and absorbing process.”

 The jury is made up of nine eminent leaders from the arts, architecture, culture and business and includes:

  • Michael Lynch AO CBE (Chair), Chair, Sydney Community Foundation and Chair, Circa
  • Lee-Ann Tjunypa Buckskin, Deputy Chair, Australia Council for the Arts, Managing Director, L-AB & Associates and Executive, Aboriginal Strategy, South Australian Film Corporation
  • Beatrice Galilee, Associate Curator of Architecture and Design, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
  • Walter Hood, Creative Director and Founder, Hood Design Studio
  • David Knox, Deputy Chair, Economic Development Board of South Australia and Member, Adelaide Botanic Gardens Foundation Committee
  • Nick Mitzevich, Director, Art Gallery of South Australia
  • Toshiko Mori, Founder and Principal, Toshiko Mori Architect and Robert P. Hubbard Professor in the Practice of Architecture at Harvard University Graduate School of Design
  • Sally Smart, Vice-Chancellor’s Professorial Fellow, University of Melbourne and renowned contemporary artist
  • Tracey Whiting, Chair, Art Gallery of South Australia Board

The competition jury will be advised by Malcolm Reading, Competition Director, and fully supported by a panel of technical advisers.

Nick Mitzevich, Director, Art Gallery of South Australia, said:

 “Adelaide is known with great affection as a City of Festivals; it has a progressive culture that prizes engagement and participation, as well as valuing its rich and diverse heritage.

 “We are fortunate to hold a peerless collection of international and Australian art, much of which has never gone on public display. Adelaide Contemporary is unprecedented in its ambition to provide a new home for Australian art as well as a new place within the city.

 “Adelaide Contemporary will curate the State’s exceptional collection of Aboriginal art and present Indigenous Australian art and culture alongside work by Asian and European artists, enabling local, national and international visitors to look at Australian art in a global context.”

 These teams now have eleven weeks to devise their concept designs before submitting them to the competition organisers, Malcolm Reading Consultants. Each team will receive an honorarium of AU$90,000 for their competition work including their concept design.

The concept designs will be revealed to the public and stakeholders in April at an exhibition in Adelaide and online. The conditions for Stage Two of the competition have been formally endorsed by the Australian Institute of Architects.

The competition has attracted worldwide interest with 107 teams made up of circa 525 individual firms applying from five continents to be considered initially.

The competition brief embraces South Australia’s Industry Participation Policy, to ensure that maximum economic activity is generated locally from project conception through to delivery, and to provide new opportunities for local producers, entrepreneurs and businesses.

The competition will inform the finalisation of a business case and funding approval by the Government of South Australia following the brief development phase.

Details of the public exhibition will follow in April 2018. The winner announcement is expected to be made in early to mid-June 2018.

For further updates please visit the competition website at




Adelaide Contemporary International Design Competition shortlisted teams visit the ArtGallery of South Australia, Adelaide, 2018. Photo: Nat Rogers

McAleer & Rushe wins third Wembley Park deal to deliver over 500 new homes


Quintain has awarded McAleer & Rushe a major construction contract to deliver over 500 homes at Wembley Park where Carillion had originally been in talks to deliver the job.

The £130m South West Land’s phase two project marks McAleer & Rushe’s third contract at the North London redevelopment site and takes Quintain’s overall spend with the firm to £212m.

It is understood that Quintain abandoned talks with Carillion to deliver this project after it delivered its first major profit warning last summer.

McAleer & Rushe is also on site delivering the £55m first phase of works of the South West Lands development, due for completion in Q3 2019, and a 312 bedroom Premier Inn hotel, due for completion ahead of schedule this summer.

The second phase of the South West Lands development, which lies next to Wembley Stadium and London Designer Outlet involves building 553 homes, 114 will be affordable, split between affordable rent and shared ownership.

The remaining 439 will be rental homes managed by Quintain’s wholly owned build to rent operator, Tipi.

Eamonn Laverty, Chief Executive of McAleer & Rushe said: “Marking our largest contract to date, this is our third contract with Quintain since 2016 and the project cements our partnership with them as a trusted member of their main contractors framework.”

The contract signing comes less than two months after Quintain signed their largest ever construction contract for £211m with Sisk to deliver 743 new build to rent homes. Quintain is spending £1m a day on construction making Wembley Park one of the UK’s largest construction sites.