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Foundation World / Projects / Article

Out of sight
25/6/03
It’s currently one of the UK’s most challenging foundation projects, but there isn’t a piling rig in sight at the Home Office redevelopment in Marsham Street, London.

They were known as the Ugly Sisters. The three Ministry of Public Building and Works-designed tower blocks in central London’s Marsham Street, once home to the Department of the Environment, were deeply unloved. A former Secretary of State even remarked on the irony of his department passing judgement on the aesthetic merits of planning applications “while sitting in one of the capital’s worst eyesores”.

Right now the project is at a turning point, with demolition just about complete. It won’t be long before Terry Farrell & Partner’s replacement scheme starts to rise up above street level. But take a quick glance across the site and something’s missing. Where are all the piling rigs that you’d normally expect to see at this stage of a major development?

The answer to this is simple; there aren’t any. The redevelopment of Marsham Street by PFI contractor/project manager Bouygues is one of the most ambitious projects yet to make use of existing foundations.

Yet this does not mean this is an uninteresting foundation project; in fact, quite the reverse is true. It’s just all the action is with the consultants rather than the contractors.

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