Louis Vuitton acquired property next to their store in central London to expand their retail accommodation. Now occupying a prime corner site at Clifford Street, they wished to merge the two buildings at basement and three upper levels beneath five storeys of occupied offices. Major structural changes were necessary to create the desired open plan space, stockrooms and VIP areas.
Four loadbearing internal columns were removed below the second floor, as access to floors above was not permitted. One column ran the full height of the building, carrying significant load. Temporary crossbeams supported it while the building was jacked up.
Two 5 tonne, 10m steel cranked beams were craned in via a first floor window. A double jacking process was adopted to free the floors below from temporary props, avoiding delay on the progress there. A second column was hung below the cranked beams to suspend the first floor, giving the illusion that it is unsupported.
Large sections of floor slab were removed at ground and first floor levels to create voids along the facade. To restrain the facade, a truss has been installed internally and, as the facade steps out at first floor level, tension posts introduced to counter the overturning effect. The slab and column alterations resulted in redistribution of building loads and additional pile caps had to be constructed.
Party walls were also removed at ground and first floor levels and a lift shaft inserted along the party wall from basement to seconf floor. Finally, support was provided to pick up the cladding above second floor level while the cladding below was removed and replaced in Portland stone.
A new signature staircase tapers as it rises from the basement to the first floor as a result of the shape of the facade. The resulting tread and riser dimensions are not uniform and the LED panels and connections used had to be individually tailored.
For crane access, New Bond Street had to close, which is only permitted two set days a year. The design team coordinated events to ensure they hit this deadline, avoiding delays to the fast track construction programme.