In the realm of construction and engineering, collaboration and sustainable practices are more important now than ever. The Whipps Cross project exemplifies the power of collaboration and showcases a commitment to sustainable development. Situated in the London borough of Waltham Forest, this project aims to transform the existing hospital site into a cutting-edge ‘smart’ hospital spanning 85,000 square metres, along with 1,500 new homes, to create a community infrastructure with green spaces.
The Whipps Cross project encountered various challenges during its initial stages. However, these challenges were successfully overcome through effective collaboration. Ryder, the lead designer and architect, worked closely with various entities, each with their specific requirements and needs.
The project encompasses five key themes, which are as follows:
1. Improving Connectivity:
Throughout the Whipps Cross project, a conscious effort was made to establish more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly means of transportation within and around the site, such as walking, cycling, and public transport. New cycle pathways were created to encourage staff, visitors, and patients to use bicycles. Additionally, Ryder collaborated with Transport for London to establish new routes and stronger connections to neighbouring local centres and transport hubs.
2. Promoting Biodiversity:
Unlike many other developments, the Whipps Cross project prioritised the promotion of biodiversity, recognising the positive impact on well-being and patient recovery. The site connects to the wider Epping Forest, ensuring that the homes built on-site, as well as the staff and hospital patients, have access to and views of green spaces. To optimise land usage and establish links between the hospital and garden, Ryder collaborated with Natural England and the Corporation of London.
3. Reframing Heritage:
Preserving the rich history of the old hospital was of utmost importance in the Whipps Cross project. The renovation of old war blocks into new homes was undertaken to celebrate the legacy of the original hospital and showcase a multi-generational development. Ryder faced numerous challenges due to the historic nature of the buildings, as they were listed structures. However, these challenges were overcome through collaboration with the Greater London Authority. Elements of the original Edwardian hospital buildings were retained and reimagined as new homes.
4. Community Engagement:
Ensuring the active involvement of the local community in the development of the Whipps Cross project was a crucial objective for Ryder. A clear engagement process was established to provide a platform for people to voice their concerns and opinions throughout the project. Workshops were conducted with local schools to inform them about the development. Ryder also focused on providing key worker housing, aiming to address the affordability challenges faced by many professionals in London.
5. Sustainable Development:
Recognising that the construction industry is one of the largest contributors to emissions, Ryder aimed to minimise environmental impact through the adoption of new technological advancements. Measures such as using low-carbon concrete and concrete carbon capture were implemented to reduce carbon footprint.
The Whipps Cross project serves as an inspiring case study, demonstrating the power of collaboration in achieving sustainable development goals. As the industry continues to evolve, projects like this provide a blueprint for future endeavours, where collaboration, sustainability, and community engagement are at the forefront of success.
The Whipps Cross Project was discussed in our webinar on 1 April 2023. To view the webinar and supporting notes click here.
Insight for this article was provided by David McMahon, a director of Ryder. Ryder is a multidisciplinary firm, comprising approximately 350 professionals who have delivered over £4 billion worth of development projects across the UK and internationally.
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