Business  Features

Year of Engineering: what’s going on in Nine Elms?

1st image of Battersea Power Station Chimney Dismantling 180814

Published on
March 7, 2018

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2018 is the Year of Engineer – a UK-wide campaign to celebrate engineering and inspire young people to join the industry.

The Nine Elms Vauxhall Partnership is an official Year of Engineering Partner and will be working with local people to explore how engineers are shaping the area.  It has commissioned Chocolate Films to create an animation that captures the incredible feats of engineering currently taking place.

These include Tideway’s work on the Thames Tideway Tunnel (also known as the London Super Sewer) – a major upgrade of London’s original sewerage system. The 25 km, 7m diameter tunnel is being built by Tunnel Boring Machines (TBMs) – the largest infrastructure project undertaken by the UK water industry.

Another great feat of underground engineering  – the extension of the Northern Line – has seen the first extension of the tube in over a decade using specifically-designed machines suitable for that tunnel, soil type, and site logistics.

One of the tunnel boring machines that will build the Northern Line Extension is carefully manoeuvred into the 77m long launch tunnel, before starting its journey towards Kennington next month. Copyright John Zammit / TfL

One of the tunnel boring machines that will build the Northern Line Extension is carefully manoeuvred into the 77m long launch tunnel, before starting its journey towards Kennington next month. Copyright John Zammit / TfL

Elsewhere in Nine Elms, there’s an ambitious and innovative Sustainable Drainage System (SuDS) being installed beneath the buildings. This mega-engineering project by Thames Water is the UK’s largest SuDS project and will cut carbon emissions and replace 20 hectares of hard, impermeable structures with rain gardens, swales and permeable paving.

Above ground, the film captures engineering feats such as Battersea Power Station and the newly opened US Embassy. Designed by architects Kieran Timberlake, the embassy includes a self-sufficient water system that collects rainwater on the roof, an on-site wastewater treatment plant and photovoltaic cells on the roof to produce electricity.

The new US embassy. Image courtesy of Richard Bryant / arcaidimages.com

Meanwhile at the Power Station engineers had to demolish each of the 51-meter-high chimneys and replicate them for authenticity and aesthetics. Once rebuilt, 375 litres of paint were used to restore the four chimneys to their original height, shape, and colour.

Chocolate Films will be using the animation as the basis of a workshop programme with local schools, inviting students to use animation to imagine what they could do if they had the power of an engineer. This work will be presented later in the year.

Nine Elms is also working with South West London TV, who are producing a series of short, filmed interviews with engineers working on each of the major projects in the area. The aim is to help people understand what being an engineer involves.

Justin Phillips, Timothy Jones, Philip Gullett, Cllr Ravi Govindia (from left to right)

As the year progresses, the Nine Elms Vauxhall Partnership will be revealing other exciting Year of Engineering projects, and letting local people know how they can get involved.

Keep an eye on the website or follow @NineElmsTeam on twitter for regular updates.


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