As the world of retail has shifted dramatically in recent years, department store buildings have needed radical change. Civic Engineers’ is helping deliver a major refurbishment to one such building at 318 Oxford St which currently hosts House of Fraser.
Major improvement works will see continued retail use in the lower levels of the building. The refurbishment will add an eighth floor to the 35,000m2 building, boasting a rooftop restaurant and extensive terraces. The sixth and seventh floors will be rebuilt to provide high quality covid compliant office space while the second to fifth floors are retained and converted, also for office use.
The redesign requires the complete removal of most internal masonry walls, which provide stability to the structure. In response, Civic Engineers has designed a completely new stability system comprising a braced steel frame to be inserted into the former escalator well.
Considerable research was required to understand details of the existing structure, and to justify the necessary increase in height. Keeping the new structure ‘light’ allows much of the existing structure to be retained which significantly reduce the scheme’s carbon footprint. A further reduction in environmental impact is achieved by re-using some of the demolished steelwork in the new construction.
Working closely with the architect PDP, our engineers analysed the existing and proposed loading on each of the near-1000 columns in the building. By combining information from archive records, opening-up and materials testing, we were able to justify the changes in load and eliminate the need for major strengthening works, reducing cost and embodied carbon.