Architect: Benoy
Material: Reconstructed Stone
Contractor: Bovis Lend Lease
Finish: Honed
Size: 20,000 square metres
Location: Kent


Precast cladding on Bluewater commenced with the John Lewis building and then extended throughout the complex to include a total precast area of 20,000m². Follow on buildings from John Lewis included Marks & Spencer, House of Fraser, the crèche and Village building. Throughout the development the detailing and cladding varies from building to building - some with very large modulated panels, others with smaller more complex shapes and one of the latter buildings, the Village building incorporated an amalgam of many features such as the use of GRC panels to the conical hat structure, load bearings, encased steel mullions, a change in materials to provide a more reflective surface and many classical features to individual elements. An important aspect of the project was its rapid development and the turnaround from concept development to completion of individual buildings. This was facilitated by a spirit of co-operation between the design team members, the main contractor and the specialist subcontract. The speed of the decision making process was such that it could only have worked with a large degree of trust and the finished complex is now probably the most successful shopping centre in Europe.

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