"The challenge at The Knightsbridge was to create a multi-storey building housing 201 apartments without dwarfing the neighbouring houses of Trevor Square.
Every opportunity was taken to exploit techniques pioneered in classical architecture to mould sections of the design in order to reduce the visual impact of the whole. The scheme is split into two distinct buildings, one thirteen storeys tall, the other nine. The primary building has a limestone frame and follows the tripartite system, with the top two floors stepping back to lightweight penthouse pavilions that exploit views over Hyde Park. The smaller of the two buildings at the junction with Trevor Street marks the shift from the larger scale of the edge of the park to the domestic scale of the Georgian streets behind. It drops down from nine to eight storeys, and finally a five-storey extension takes up the new geometry of Trevor Street."
Terracotta, Portland stone, aluminium and glass materials were used to compose the 15,000 m2 of facades.
Felix constructions built all the glazed curtain walling, half of which was fully assembled in its workshop near Lausanne, and then transported by trucks to London. Curtain wall pre-assembled elements consisting of aluminium frames received insulated glazed units and stone-clad panels. Stone from Portland (GB), was attached to the panels via stainless steel fasteners.
Standard delivered finished frames, 4m by 4.5m, were put in place with a crane. When this was not possible, for example at penthouses and balconies, frames were delivered naked, stone and glass being incorporated afterwards on site.
One of the challenges of the project was to meet the demands related to a luxurious habitat. There were the usual high-level standards, and technical specifications (rigorously checked and tested), as well as the developer's concerns about quality and durability, relating to considerable investment, which made the project requirements exacting. For this reason, Felix focused on prefabricated systems in its workshop, ensuring better quality control, in particular for weathertightness performance.
Recognising these constraints, and the project size, another challenge came with logistical concerns: delivering to site all parts, in a good state, in good order, and on time, according to general programme. During the two years of work, none of the 134 truckloads was at fault. This was made possible by a computer- tracking system (ERP), through which the project management ensured good co-ordination between the various stakeholders: designers, procurement office, factory and installers on site.
The Knightsbridge was awarded ‘Residential Development of the Year 2006’ at the Property Awards.