Over the last few years Szerelmey has worked its way up and down Oxford Street working on a variety of different projects. On site, but drawing towards an end now, is the project called Outernet or St Giles Circus located close to Tottenham Court Road underground station and Tin Pan Alley. This large development will provide retail, leisure and entertainment spaces, commercial offices and residential accommodation across four new buildings and a number of existing ones.
It is a really interesting area to be working in with its rich musical history. Tin Pan Alley was once home to The NME and Melody maker and to a number of recording studios that played host to some of music’s legendary names. Szerelmey’s part in this project has been to deliver a very complicated package of stonework cladding to the new structures. The cladding is in Shanxi black granite with a honed finish and a ribbed profile. The profile was achieved through mechanically fixing 80mm granite ribs to a 40mm backing stone; the granite was shipped from China in pre-cut pieces and the ribs attached in the UK after careful dry laying to ensure perfect alignment and verticality. Each panel of granite with ribs attached is extremely large, with the coping stones being particularly big; this has made the lifting and installation quite complicated to plan and execute. The lower sections are completed with highly polished V jointed wrap around column sections. These areas are connected together with highly polished soffit stones that encase fully retractable by-folding doors to the ground level; once these doors are opened, they will fully expose the full extent of the black granite feature stones.
Other complications are how restricted the site is and being surrounded by public access in close proximity. All the interfacing subcontractors and the main contractor, Skanska, have worked closely together to ensure the site logistics have permitted the efficient and timely installation of the material, working well through lockdown and to new RAMs taking account of Covid-19 restrictions.