We were delighted to see the recent completion of one of our long-running retail projects.

evolve has been working with British Land on the improvement of the Orbital Shopping Park in Swindon since 2015. During this time, improvements made to building façades, together with public realm works and the introduction of new occupying tenants, has transformed this high-demand out-of-town shopping and leisure park.

The only previous restaurant offering was a Pizza Hut whose building was dated and hindered by its sub-level entrance and poor on-site position. British Land decided to enhance the profile of the building by raising it to provide a landmark structure that would become a central focal point for visitors. The redevelopment would also compliment the surrounding works, which included the much improved children’s play park which neighbours the building location.

The restaurant floor in the existing building was set within a basement level and the building height was constrained by a roof height covenant. The challenge, therefore, was to raise the profile of the structure whilst also maintaining a lofty and airy feel to the final internal space. It was integral to the client’s wishes that the landmark structure and flying roof be as spatially minimal as possible. This required a dedicated control of the structural form to ensure that both the internal and external structure met all the requirements and depth constraints, whilst also adhering to the non-regular cladding and glazing proposals.

In order to achieve this, the existing retaining walls in the basement were reused to help lessen the disruption to the park and surrounding infrastructure. Where the foot print of the building had to be reorganised, the existing reduced level areas were raised up with the introduction of light-weight void formers to minimise building loads and counter the potential ground displacements and differential settlement.

The new building envelope has been accurately installed to complement the perimeter and internal load bearing structures; resulting in a building that has interesting elevations whilst also minimising the presence of the structural form.

The final results successfully met the client’s brief; thus completing the upgrade of this British Land development. It also brings a highly anticipated second branch of the popular Nando’s chain of restaurants to the people of Swindon!

Redevelopment, Orbital Shopping Park, Swindon, Retail