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Ultrascape: Preserving 19th century heritage

11 February 2013

The specification of Ultrascape’s BS 7533 mortar paving system has meant the successful regeneration of the West Handyside Canopy in King’s Cross, London.

The project was part of the central London major regeneration scheme of King’s Cross, which covers 67 acres and has created mixed use space, to include offices, shops, homes and a university.  The West Handyside Canopy has been restored for use as an events space.

It was originally constructed in 1888 to provide a covered area for unloading of fish and other perishable traffic direct from railway carriages into road vehicles.  Preserving this heritage was of great importance and one of the project’s major design features.

Designed by Townshends Landscape Architects, the new under canopy footing was created using reclaimed granite setts, laid using Ultrascape’s Mortar paving System.

Choosing to use the old stones instead of new ones preserved the area’s heritage and ensured that old rail tracks and turntables could also be left intact.  Retaining these historic features has captured the area’s 19th century feel and contributed to its unique and impressive restoration.

The Ultrascape mortar paving system consists of Pro-Bed HS bedding mortar, Pro-Prime slurry primer and Flowpoint flowable grout.  The system is proven to be BS 7533 compliant under UKAS testing methods.  This testing assesses the performance capabilities of the materials considering compressive, flexural and adhesive bond strengths, and shrinkage amongst others.  It also ensures rigid paving is constructed using the correct procedure.  The testing and approval therefore ensures the following benefits:

•        Can be used to design and build schemes in excess of 1000 standard axles per day

•        Helps to protect professional indemnity insurance

•        Reduces costly failures and resulting personal injury claims

•        Trusted throughout the world

•       Tried and tested methods of construction

•        Removes the uncertainty of site batched mortars

Most significantly, the British Standard promotes professional results that can give a construction life in excess of 40 years, whereas a non-compliant system doesn’t offer any minimum life expectancy.  An often overlooked aspect of the British Standard is that all of the materials are tested in conjunction with one another, ensuring that they work in harmony.  This is extremely important when specifying a full mortar paving system.  BS 7533 sets technical and practical guidelines that help to minimise potential workmanship issues. Using a compliant system is the one and only assurance against costly repercussions and ensures longevity.

The Ultrascape mortar paving system was also used on other areas of the King’s Cross development including Granary Square and internally creating the atrium and crossing between the Granary and Studio buildings inside the Eastern Goods Yard.  The Granary building is now home to Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, which boasts John Galliano and Anthony Gormley in their alumni.  All of the work has been completed by specialist stone contractors, Miller Druck International Stone.

English Heritage states that: “King’s Cross is a model of constructive conservation that captures the special quality of London as it has grown over the centuries.”  With the use of Ultrascape materials, King’s Cross not only has its heritage secured but also its future.

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