Ebury Edge; Ebury Edge;

Ebury Edge, London

Creating a temporary work and community space using an innovative and reusable timber system

Ebury Edge is a temporary work and community space at the heart of Westminster designed in collaboration with Jan Kattein Architects, combining affordable workspace and retail units with a café, a community hall and a public courtyard.

As part of the Ebury Bridge Estate redevelopment, which will see 781 new homes created and existing housing blocks retrofitted just south of London Victoria, Westminster City Council (WCC) was keen to provide the local community with an immediate sign of regeneration.

Arup worked with WCC to deliver the concept of Ebury Edge, supporting the design and construction of two modular, meanwhile-use buildings with sustainability embedded in their DNA. We developed the fully electric buildings from concept design to tender within just two months, featuring an innovative demountable timber structural system that can be adapted and re-deployed after use in 2025.

The project sets a precedent by embracing the creative potential of the regeneration process. By bringing community amenities to the Estate in advance of long-term redevelopment, the scheme provides residents with valuable social spaces to meet and the infrastructure to facilitate local business. The design and consultation approach has resulted in a striking appearance, reflecting residents' wishes to invite communities old and new into the renewed Estate.

Project Summary

100% electric buildings

5+reuses of structure

17tonnes of CO2eqsaved in foundations

Sustainable timber structures

The design concept consisted of two buildings: a two-storey building with a timber frame workspace and retail at the ground floor and a single-storey block containing a café and community hall, open internally to an asymmetric pitched roof using prefabricated timber trusses. A scaffold frame links the buildings and will provide the substrate for greenery to grow.

The use of timber within the buildings' design allowed for easier customisation while keeping them light and minimising foundations and embodied carbon.

Designing for reassembly

To get optimal value from WCC's investment, we needed to ensure the building design was flexible, reusable and simple to construct. The construction combines prefabricated timber components, common in residential homes, in a system that can be re-erected elsewhere, together or individually. Working with specialists Flight Timber, we refined the timber frame design and developed a screw fixings pattern to enable the assembly and disassembly of the structure at least five times.

These aspirations advanced the traditional timber cassette systems beyond standard practice, marrying speed of construction and robustness without compromising the integrity of the structural components.

A low carbon development

We designed the buildings to be 100% electric, using an air heat source pump to provide heating and cooling for both buildings alongside openable windows to provide natural ventilation. The design eliminated the need to rely on fossil fuels and reduced operational carbon while simplifying internal services and connections to the utility network. Rainwater attenuation is also part of the design, and the water storage system will be reused in the main redevelopment when the meanwhile structure is removed.

Legacy obstructions in the ground coupled with a limited budget meant the optimal solution was to establish shallow foundations in mass concrete. They were selected for their simplicity and ability to crush and reuse the concrete as part of the main development works. The area used to be a marshland, which meant the structural integrity of the buildings could be affected by any potential movement. The buildings' frames sit on removable packers that allow level adjustment when required, saving cost, construction time and embodied carbon.

 Arup understood the need for speed and flexibility to bring much needed community space to the estate before long-term re-development takes place and were instrumental in creating an innovative demountable structure that is both tailored to the needs of a specific community but can also be re-deployed elsewhere.

Gabriel Warshafsky Lead Architect, Jan Kattein Architects


Structural Timber Awards 2021 - Retail & Leisure Project of the Year

New London Awards 2021 - Community Prize Winner

Ensuring a safe and vibrant future

Our team led the engagement with building control and the fire brigade to agree on the fire strategy. We omitted a sprinkler system via a risk-based design specific to the buildings, which minimised the area requiring fire compartmentation treatment and resulted in significant cost and programme savings for WCC.

We delivered the complete design in only two months from concept design, which is a remarkably short timeframe for this type of project. Our ability to work efficiently as a multidisciplinary team enabled Westminster to commence the construction works procurement.

Learn more about our sustainable buildings design expertise.