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2011 Awards Winners

The annual presentation of The Concrete Society's coveted Awards for Excellence in Concrete took place on 10th November 2011 at the Landmark Hotel, Marylebone Road, London.

The Sainsbury Laboratory, Cambridge
This major new academic laboratory reconciles precise scientific requirements with a sensitive approach to its historic site. A multi-faceted design in terms of structural complexity, intricate interfaces and architectural detailing, the project has achieved an outstanding quality finish on time and to budget.
Judges' Comments:
Aesthetically, upon approach and within, the juxtaposition of the exposed concrete and natural stone mullions and cladding are excellent. The aspect ratio and quality of design complements the surrounding Botanical Gardens and the relatively low level and mix of materials make it a comfortable addition.

The main impression is in the very high standard of finish of the as-struck concrete (especially internally); it is part of the building environment, rather than just an exposed structure. Long, straight lines of concrete with large areas present in both trafficked and non-trafficked areas reflect the light extremely well.

Externally, the exposed concrete complements the natural stone. Craftsmanship comes to mind to describe the work. The external aesthetics are focused upon the lateral cantilevered 'thick sandwich' concrete design that could not be achieved using other materials. Of particular interest is the choice of mix design. Extensive trials were made to comply with the finish requirements and a concrete containing Portland cement, some limestone filler, with TiO2 was chosen. The well-designed mix minimised arris blemishes and blowholes. The use of void formers, for insulation and reduced weight, the requirement for avoiding construction joints and the use of cantilevers gave added difficulty in planning the pour schedule for this structurally challenging project.

The exposed concrete has been cleaned and left as is, which works very well and provides a very good finish. The pale colour of the concrete used reflects ambient conditions very well and the glass and steel used complement the concrete.
The Angel Building, London    
The Angel Building is a radical transformation of a key site in EC1 and an expression of faith in good-value, sustainable office construction. It now contains over 24,600m2 (260,000ft2) of high-specification office space, with an atrium, café, two retail units, and specially commissioned works of contemporary art and large rooftop terraces affording views over London.
Judges' Comments:
The building features Miesian steel and glass outside, and a beautifully proportioned concrete frame inside.

Stunning internal elevations with high-quality, self-finish in-situ concrete work – true craftsmanship. The load-bearing properties of concrete are fully and elegantly exploited. It shows careful and sustainable reuse of an existing concrete frame. We loved the crafted feel. Value is in the commercial success of the building and design and execution are key to this.

As the winner of the Rejuvenation Award, the concept of reusing the existing frame and incorporating this workspace into the stunning atrium.
Riverside Resource Recovery Facility, Belvedere, London    
Costain is the civils works, building facilities and marine works design-and-build contractor for the largest energy from waste plant to be constructed in Europe. The facility helps manage London's waste, while keeping 100,000 HGVs off the roads annually. It also makes a real contribution to London's ability to meet landfill targets and generates electricity for 66,000 homes.
Judges' Comments:
The project was a huge logistical enterprise. The co-ordination of the concrete supply and works, not only for the slipform but also the infrastructure and ancillary construction, is impressive. The scale of the slipform and the intricacy of ensuring the cast-in items were incorporated as the pour continued required total control.

Concrete in the form of in-situ and precast is the only material for this purpose. It is durable, hard wearing and can accommodate reasonable levels of abuse from in-service operations. Externally, the whole concrete box and ancillary works is clad. The open aspect
estuary environment is industrial but the overall visual appearance has been considered and is in keeping with the area. Internally the concrete appearance is functional. The precast elements and in-situ concrete decking have been used to form the access routes for the vehicles bringing in the waste from land and from the river.
Department Of Metallurgy And Materials Building, University Of Birmingham
The Grade II listed Metallurgy and Materials Building at Birmingham University was completed in 1966. The building was designed to be constructed in a number of phases, with a repeating modular approach to the building frame and services. The separate blocks are connected at their corners to provide the maximum potential for future developments to be connected on with minimal disruption. The final grouping provides each department with a separate entrance
Judges' Comments:
As a Mature Structure this has performed extremely well. A modern design for the age of the building and very innovative use of concrete for the date of build (1966). The unusual level of detailing has ensured its listed status. All stairs are stand-alone very visual concrete features with integral lighting.

It is very suitable for purpose, with appropriate use of exposed (precast) concrete externally. Internally, concrete stairs and exposed ceilings work well in both office and laboratory environment. The grid modular pattern of frame works well to mixed use. This was designed to be able to build on further blocks, which has allowed the new transition in the current
refurbishment of the four modular blocks to work well. Exposed concrete faces have allowed the refurbishment to use the thermal mass.

Standard of finish to the precast units is of a very high level. External surfaces have worn well except for some weather staining that has been removed by the refurbishment to show original colour. Internal exposed concrete is smooth, clean and homogeneous in colour.
The Bulgari Hotel And Residences, London
This Knightsbridge-based building, which has a six-storey basement and an 11-storey superstructure, maximises the potential of this relatively small site. The structure accommodates high-quality residences overlooking Hyde Park, a luxury hotel, restaurant, below-grade ballroom and a swimming pool. It also met the client's aspirations for a 'green' building and to construct to challenging cost and programme targets.
Judges' Comments:
When considering sustainability, a common thread throughout the awards entries is the concrete mix design, in particular the minimisation of embodied CO2 by the use of additions (fly ash or GGBS). Many projects are applauded as having high BREEAM ratings, use of thermal mass, use of thinner posttensioned slabs and energy-saving heating systems exploiting concrete's properties.

The judges were therefore looking for that 'extra something' on top of what is rapidly becoming the norm. In this respect, the incorporation of geothermal piles and geothermal diaphragm perimeter walls (Geothermal International Ltd) tipped the balance.
The Judging Panel
The Judges: Supplemental Judges:
Kathy Calverley, The Concrete Society Alasdair Stables President, The Concrete Society
Richard Day, The Concrete Society Dr Richard Barnes, The Concrete Society
Ruth Reid, Royal Institute of British Architects Dr Neil Crook, The Concrete Society
Geoff French, Institution of Civil Engineers Dr Ian Heritage, The Concrete Society
Nick Russell, Institution of Structural Engineers  
Brett Concrete - East Kent Access PHASE 2    
This award aims to recognise and congratulate those ready-mixed companies who provide a high-quality efficient and professional service.
Brett Concrete won first prize for its concrete supply to the VolkerFitzpatrick/Hochtief joint venture for the East Kent Access Phase 2 improvement of the A299 between the Minster roundabout and the Lord of the Manor junction, and improvement of the A256 between the Lord of the Manor junction and Phase 1 at the old Richborough Power Station site.

The contract called for the supply of over 27,000m3 of concrete and contained the requirement to complete six large roof deck sections, each comprising 1000m3 of concrete, to form an underpass. For these large pours, the concrete was delivered in
excess of 90m3/h. This was a complex project that demanded a high level of co-ordination and management. The close working relationship between the joint venture and Brett ensured that the logistical challenges in working in a semi-rural location on a difficult civil engineering project were successfully met.
CCL - Worcester Library and History Centre    
The £42 million Worcester Library and History Centre, known as The Hive, is a fully integrated public and university library, which includes more than 10,000m2 of public space over five floors. The building will use natural sources of daylight and cooling, and the pyramid roof cones will act as a natural ventilator.
The Hive was originally schemed as a steel frame with precast units but this did not satisfy the required floor zone restriction. It was redesigned with reinforced concrete floors, typically 300mm deep but with some areas of 400mm and 500mm deep. Post-tensioning was then used to reduce slab depth in order to maximize headroom and the internal open space of the library. CCL post-tensioned concrete slabs had to incorporate Velta pipes that would carry water from the nearby River Severn and circulate this throughout the building to provide a passive cooling system.

In line with the carbon-neutral aspirations of the library, the thermal mass properties of the concrete were maximised by maintaining fair-faced soffits. The use of post-tensioning on the project saved more than 250m3 of concrete across three levels, reducing embodied CO2 by approximately 95 tonnes to lessen environmental impact during the construction process, and lowering the expenditure on both concrete and reinforcement.
Tonkin Liu – Dover Esplanade    
The £2 million project to create a new 3500m2 promenade – known as the Esplanade, connecting the eastern and western docks at Dover – has been completed with the help of British Precast member Thorp Precast. To the west of the Esplanade is a new Sea Sports Centre and to the east a crossing linked to a tunnel that connects the seafront to the central town square.
Designed by architect Tonkin Liu, the project, which was officially opened in November 2010, is in the form of three waves:
  • the Lifting Wave, a series of sculptural ramps and stairs that rise and fall to connect the beach to the Esplanade
  • the Resting Wave, a sculptural retaining wall providing sheltered spaces along the length of the Esplanade with weathered oak benches comprising 124 units
  • the Light Wave, a line of white columns to improve lighting and safety. The lighting can be controlled to create a wave movement.
Martin Clarke, chief executive of British Precast, says, "The project shows an interesting and innovative use of precast concrete. The design by Tonkin Liu is both aesthetic, giving the esplanade a modern feel, and functional. The use of precast concrete is ideally suited to the harsh conditions produced by a seafront environment and we were delighted to see the involvement of British Precast member Thorp Precast with this project."