Dudley House

Client:   Willmott Dixon Construction

Contractor:   McKean Developments

Architect:   Child Graddon Lewis Limited

Location:   Paddington, London

Balconies:   73

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Westminster City Council, Pinnacle Group, Willmott Dixon construction and Child Graddon Lewis architects worked together to build Dudley House, a mixed-use development in Paddington Basin. This 4,000m² site consists of 197 new affordable homes, retail units, a church, and a new permanent site for Marylebone Boys’ Secondary School. As part of this development in the heart of London, we provided Glide-On™ balconies that perfectly matched the architect’s vision.

The Wider Project

Westminster has some of the highest land values in the world. While the population of Greater London has ballooned over recent years, the number of people living in Westminster has remained relatively stable in comparison to the rest of the city. This is because the borough lacks affordable housing, which ultimately, stunts the cultural life of the area. Although office developments might be lucrative, its residents that make Westminster a dynamic and vibrant place to be.

The council’s response was to initiate the City for All project. This scheme aims to build sustainable, affordable housing in the borough so that it remains a welcoming place to live for people of all backgrounds, ages, and income levels. With this initiative, the council can facilitate optimal economic growth to create opportunities and raise living standards.

Dudley House

Dudley House is the flagship development of the City for All scheme. This mixed-use £104 million project in Paddington Basin is Westminster’s largest-ever design-and-build contract, containing the UK’s tallest secondary school, new community and commercial facilities, and importantly, 197 new affordable homes.

These apartments are a mixture of studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom units that the council offers at discounted rates to those living or working in the borough. There is a generous provision of space in the flats, with each and every one boasting its own private terrace or balcony. To protect the integrity of the project, the gross income of each household is capped at £90,000. This is designed to encourage a more diverse community in the central London borough.

The Challenge

There were some very specific design details on the balconies, including a rainwater pipe and a polyester powder coating that we needed to match. This drainage system in particular significantly impacted the manufacture and install of the balconies, as the tolerance for misplacement was very small.

Finally, the building’s location was a significant challenge. In a built-up, central London location, it was critical that the balconies were transported safely and efficiently and installed swiftly due to a lack of storage on site.

The Solution

For Dudley House, we installed Glide-On™ aluminium balconies. To ensure the architect’s exacting specifications were met, our design team worked with the project drawings to ensure a successful connection. Equally, we collaborated with BA Systems to match the balustrades’ polyester powder coating to the inset, creating a perfectly harmonious architectural feature. This was complemented with Crystal® frameless structural glass, maintaining high levels of natural light and views for the residents.

In regard to manufacture and transport, our offsite team was an asset. With the facility to store the units securely away from the main site, the site team could call the balconies to the site as needed, significantly improving the space and time-efficiency of the project programme.

Installation Process

Step 1: Cast in anchors were cast into the slab & incorporated thermal break connections offering superior rigidity to the balconies.
Step 2: Cassette® balconies were preassembled offsite, including the balustrades, decking & soffits.
Step 3: Cassette® balconies were transported with balconies ‘nested’ onto each pallet making transport both cost-effective & safe. Balconies were pre-slung offsite ready for installation upon arrival.
Step 4: Once lifted into position, the Cassettes® simply Glide-On™ to the pre-erected support arms, before completing the simple mechanical fixings.

The Results

The finished product was really quite something. The architect’s innovative design means that Dudley House is a high-functioning mixed-use development that provides tremendous value to the local community. From the school’s rooftop football pitch to the bespoke font in the Pentecostal church, every feature blends together seamlessly. The balconies supplied by Sapphire are no exception. With robust, rigid concrete cantilever balconies, every one of the affordable new homes enjoys a slice of outdoor space in London’s buzzing centre.

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