Bringing the future to the now: delivering the first global Outernet building
Outernet London’s The Now Building is an immersive entertainment space boasting the world’s largest high-resolution wrap-around screens and a futuristic live events venue to boost London’s live music scene.
Located close to Tottenham Court Road Underground Station in the Denmark Street area – famed for its rich musical heritage – the mixed-use development has respectfully introduced four new buildings and seen the refurbishment of a number of existing buildings. It combines retail, leisure and entertainment spaces – including a hotel, with commercial offices and residential accommodation.
Delivering every aspect of this shell and core project from design, piling and foundations to temporary works, construction and MEP services, our team’s sustainability expertise saw the new buildings achieve BREEAM (2011) ‘Very Good’ rating. The domestic refurbishments are designed to meet BREEAM (2012) ‘Excellent’.
An intricate structure in a complex location
The project was unique in its challenges and appeal. The largest of the new buildings features an innovative, retractable façade, revealing an urban public gallery that will open at street level onto the high-resolution wrap-around screens.
The building’s foundations straddle the Crossrail tunnel, over which an underground ‘box within a box’ was constructed to contain an auditorium. This was built using innovative methodology to allow different parts of the scheme to be built simultaneously, significantly reducing programme time and costs.
Keeping Tin Pan Alley’s character
During the second phase of the construction work, the team refurbished the buildings along the north side of Denmark Street, known as London’s famous ‘Tin Pan Alley’, an area with a rich musical history. The street was once home to ‘The NME’ and ‘Melody Maker’, as well as recording studios that saw The Kinks, the Rolling Stones and Elton John pass through their doors.
The ‘smithy’, a 350-year-old structure that has been a stable yard and a blacksmith, was carefully preserved as part of the scheme. Placed on a concrete raft and moved temporarily within the site, it was then returned to its original location to become part of the entrance to a second underground auditorium in a celebration of the rich cultural heritage of the site.
Supporting the local community
Working with Camden Council, the team devised a socioeconomic sustainability plan to involve local people in the project through apprenticeships, training schemes and support for local communities and charities.
The many independent music shops on Denmark Street had their premises updated, with offices and residential accommodation on the upper levels. Thoughtful co-ordination and liaison ensured there was minimal disruption to these local businesses.