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Skanska Delivers Landmark Entertainment Venue

Outernet London
23 March 2021
 

The Building team at Skanska successfully completed the Outernet London project, a new immersive entertainment venue, set to help reinvigorate London’s iconic Denmark Street music scene.

Work began in 2017 to deliver the first global Outernet project for their customer, Consolidated Developments, who has plans to build other similar venues in Los Angeles and New York. The development boasts the world’s largest high-resolution wrap-around screens with a live events space for up to 2,000 people, plus retail, office and residential space across four new buildings and a number of refurbished existing buildings.

 

“This is the most technically challenging project I have worked on."
 

 

– Paul Roberts
Project Director, Skanska

 

Entertainment in Light of COVID-19

 

Social entertainment has suffered in the past year of COVID restrictions, as only online content has been consistent. Originally a £2.25 million Emergency Grassroots Music Venues Fund was set up by the Arts Council, seeking to ensure the survival of grassroots music venues until 30 September 2020. Artists, promoters, event organisers, and entertainment property owners and leasers have had to rethink their business plans to adapt and survive. We looked extensively at the way in which the industry has developed and looks to rebuild moving forwards, including considerations in regards to the release of the Roadmap last month.

The shift has also presented an opportunity for new events and projects to capitalise on an eager population and spaces that may have been dropped by previous owners, and a time for creativity to define competition when physical entertainment is legal again. Outernet London is a pioneering example of this new wave.

From the beginning of the project, the team tackled some significant challenges; from the close proximity of the building’s foundations to the Eastbound Crossrail tunnel and Tottenham Court Road Underground Station and Northern Line, to safe shutdown and reopening of the site to quickly put COVID-19 measures in place.

 

Technical Accomplishment

 

In 2019, the team faced its biggest technical challenge: constructing the roof of the auditorium within the basement of a central London site. They worked closely with supply chain partner, Severfield, to lift the 400-tonne steel and concrete roof into its final position eight metres high, using 14 75-tonne jacks. After this, 70 perimeter columns were installed underneath so that the roof could be carefully released from the jacks onto the permanent columns. In visual terms, it is like building a giant ship in a bottle.

Paul Roberts, Project Director, commented: “Everybody that has worked on and been involved in delivering this demanding project should be extremely proud of themselves.

“This is the most technically challenging project I have worked on and it demonstrates that our supply chain is integral to delivering outstanding projects like this one: if we hadn’t been able to work together seamlessly to find innovative solutions to some of the challenges we faced, we wouldn’t be able to deliver such high standards for our customer.”

 

Picture: the Outernet London venue.

Article written by Bailey Sparkes | Published 23 March 2021

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