Sapphire showcases offsite expertise at Southbank Place

Sapphire has risen to the unique design challenges of two new residential towers at Southbank Place in London. Sapphire was commissioned to design, manufacture and supply 128 balconies for the landmark project on the site formerly used for the iconic Festival of Britain in 1951.

The use of a unitised façade meant the building envelope for each tower was manufactured offsite, with every aspect prefabricated, including fixings and opening vents. It was essential, therefore, for the specification of balconies and arms to be very precise in order to interface successfully with the façade’s prefabricated stubs.

A further challenge was the project’s location as Southbank Place has limited aspect due to its position on the banks of the River Thames. Equally, the central London location meant there was very limited space on site.

In response to the demand for ease of install and precision, Sapphire designed, manufactured and supplied balconies using its Glide-OnTM Cassette® system. Glide-OnTM balconies have a higher tolerance than traditional bolt-on designs, which is essential for unitised façades. Furthermore, due to the slab size and unitised connection, bespoke anchors were specially designed and cast for the development. Additionally, balcony arms were designed in one piece to fit precisely into the unitised façade and Sapphire supplied bespoke balustrades on the modular balconies to meet the client’s exacting requirements.

In line with the project’s offsite production model, Cassette® balconies were manufactured and prefinished offsite, including balustrades, decking and soffits. Once on site they were lifted into position directly from the lorry onto the arms. This negotiated the building’s riverside location and the site’s limited space, and mitigated the need for scaffold, saving space, time and cost without compromising safety.

Enabling fast and easy install, balcony Cassettes® simply Glide-OnTM to the pre-erected support arms, before completing the simple mechanical fixings. Complete with glass sides and bespoke railings, Sapphire’s solution for Southbank Place delivers style with rigidity and makes the most of the towers’ spectacular views across London.

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