Arup and Mace support newly redeveloped London Design Museum

02 December 2016

London’s Design Museum, which has been housed near Tower Bridge since its opening in 1989, has moved to a redeveloped Kensington site. The new site was designed by John Pawson and developed by OMA and Allies and Morrison. Mace and Arup were contracted to provide engineering consultancy, construction support and fit-out services for the new site.

London’s Design Museum brings together product, industrial, graphic, fashion and architectural design artefacts of note. The museum, which was housed in a converted banana warehouse by the River Thames near Tower Bridge, recently saw a considerable donations and investment totalling £83 million – which allowed it to draw up plans for a move to Kensington.

The new look museum, which reopened on November 24 at its new location, was designed by John Pawson and Co., within a former Grade II listed 1960s building. The building, which had been vacant for more than a decade, was transformed to meet the requirements of 21st century museum goers, as well as becoming an exercise in design in its own right.

External support

The development of the new site was undertaken by OMA and Allies and Morrison, for which Mace and Arup were appointed as the main contractors. The work involved base build, restoration and comprehensive structural alterations to the historic site – the roof as well as the perimeter structure were kept, while the internals of the building were ‘carved out’.

Arup and Mace provide services to newly redeveloped London Design Museum

The redevelopment of the interior includes additional space in the basement, providing room for a temporary gallery space and a 200 seat auditorium. As part of the redevelopment of the interior, the 1,500 tonne roof was suspended at around 20 meters above ground level – creating a technical engineering challenge for the firm. This came with considerable risk of damage if – during the wider construction of the interior support structure – the roof moved too far out of alignment.

In total, the redeveloped building has three times the space of the former site. The new space includes a permanent collection display called 'Designer Maker', a library, a shop, a restaurant, a café and learning studios.

Mark Wenlock, Group Development Director, Chelsfield, says that the engineering challenges in maintaining the Grade II Listed parabolic roof, whilst forming a double height new basement, were immense. "Arup and the main contractor, Mace, were involved in very complex engineering and temporary works solutions to make this possible. It’s a great testament to their expertise and dedication that the works proceeded without incident and the structure is now fit for many generations.”

Gareth Lewis, Mace’s COO, says that he is proud of the firm's contribution, adding that Hollandgreen is set to again become one of the capital’s most iconic buildings. "One of London’s unique cultural institutions has been given a new lease of life, while providing high quality family accommodation in landscaped grounds that complement and integrate into the nearby Holland Park and the surrounding area.”

Nigel Ciuffetelli, who served as Arup's Lead Structural Engineer on the engagement, calls the building's central hyperbolic paraboloid shell an "astonishing" engineering jewel, one that can be showcased as an example of "great engineering design from the past".


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How data insights helped Network Rail improve the South-East route

11 April 2019

Amey Consulting has leveraged data insights to assist Network Rail with the improvement of its South-Eastern route. Using the Quartz tool, which monitors train movement, Network Rail will now be able to commit to data-enabled interventions to quickly improve underperforming train stations.

With rail services in the UK coming under strain from the demands of modern commuter life, while the infrastructure and service delivery of the nation’s railways has come in for sustained criticism in recent years, a period of regeneration is on the cards at last. Network Rail is the owner and infrastructure manager of most of the railway network in Great Britain, and has subsequently tapped the consulting industry on a regular basis to help find areas of improvement.

The group recently drafted in consultancy BearingPoint to conduct a thorough organisational evaluation and advise Network Rail (High Speed) on attaining a ‘fit for purpose’ organisational standard – for which the consultancy was nominated at the 2019 MCA Awards. Meanwhile, ArupArcadis and Aecom have been contracted to help Colas Rail and Babcock Rail implement a decade-long framework for Network Rail, aimed at supporting the delivery of the next generation of rail systems, with the contracts said to be worth as much as £5 billion

How data insights helped Network Rail improve the South-East route

As Network Rail further aims to improve its performance and customer service offering, another area it has sought help from the consulting sector for is its South-East route. The network of railways connects London with the southern parts of the country, as well as with Europe, making it the busiest in the country, with more than 500 million passenger journeys per year. This crucial expanse of rail was plagued with small minute delays, which were impacting millions of passengers every day, while reducing the efficiency and capacity of the overall network – something Amey Consulting was selected to help solve.

Amey Consulting soon determined that with the sub-threshold delays to services only lasting for 1 or 2 minutes, most were not the subject of detailed root cause analysis, and this made their corrections almost impossible – with dire consequences. Without addressing these delays, passenger satisfaction would fall, while the capacity and efficiency of the network would be reduced, stinging the income of Network Rail even before a host of delay-related fines would hit the company.

In order to help the client gain a better understanding of where, how, when and what these small delays occur, Amey Consulting looked to demonstrate the value of data-led consulting, with a significant reduction in delays within the first month of rolling out changes to key stations. The consultants embedded themselves in Network Rail’s team, helping them learn the key skills needed to support and apply data-driven solutions.

Agile transport

This involved the deployment of the Quartz tool. The system utilises to-the-second train movement data to present the performance of individual stations across the South-East route. It allows users to effortlessly understand station performance with a high level of detail, and use this information to identify losses caused by small-minute delays. The granular data allows for targeted actions to drive efficiency savings and performance improvements. More importantly, it allows users to understand the impact of small process changes on performance. 

Steve Dyke, an Executive Partner at Amey Consulting, said of the project, “We looked to identify the physical root cause on the infrastructure, building a case for change then managing that project implementation and tracking the benefit/value.  In doing so we are working to define a data performance improvement service to the operational and infrastructure owners.”

Just as important for the project as the technology, however, was teaching the Network Rail team how to leverage it after the consultants were gone. The Amey Consulting team worked to develop an agile working culture within Network Rail’s South-East division, helping staff to be confident in using data to improve the journeys of millions of people per year by attacking the problem from the ground up.

Dyke concluded, “This is less about the tools and about the approach to managing performance.  It meant using by-the-second analysis, data science, and then agile development to visualise and identify areas where improvements can be made.  We then worked with NR to change the way they approached the management of the infrastructure changes.  So rather than pass the information down the value chain, any of which could have been missed, we managed the change end-to-end.”

The project was so successful that Amey Consulting was also among those honoured at the recent MCA Awards. The firm scooped the Performance Improvement in the Public Sector prize for its work with Network Rail, at the 2019 ceremony in London.