Latton Park is a new development for the new home for Harlow Rugby Club. Kier Construction funded the £5 million project. Kier wanted the old site for a planned housing development. The new site offers better facilities for the club than the existing location in both quantitative and qualitative terms. Latton Park saw the construction of a new clubhouse, access ramps, car parking facilities and six rugby pitches on the 7.5 hectares of land.
July 2017 marked the completion of the new Latton Park development. This allowed former rugby player and current president of the Rugby Football Union, Jason Leonard to unveil the new site. The development then won the Civic Society’s Architectural Award for Business Premises in October 2017. Enviromesh also won an award from the client in September 2017 for ‘Producing the Scheme from Conception to Completion’ to the clients approved standards.
Saunders Architects approached Enviromesh to develop initial design detail for the Gabion Cladding and Mass Gravity Gabion Retaining Walls. The Enviromesh design team worked with Saunders Architects during the initial design phase. This was to assist the architects with their overall design and giving professional input. Hutton Group asked Enviromesh to supply and install the gabion solutions based on the approved designs. Further development on-site of the designs resulted from lengthy discussions with both Saunders Architects and Hutton Group.
There were two phases to the gabion installation:
Phase one: Installation of the Mass Gravity Gabion Retaining Wall and Balustrade to the car park, completed in November 2016.
Phase two: Installation of the Gabion Cladding to the reinforced concrete walls, completed in March 2017.
Enviromesh spent a total of six weeks on site to complete both phase one and phase two of the project.
A number of challenges became clear during the initial design consultation process. The architect’s original design specified a nominal dimension of 550mm relating to the width of the gabion baskets; for the Post-Supported Gabion Wall and Gabion Cladding. By using this dimension, the standard mesh aperture (75mm 75mm) would have resulted in the panel sizes being unsuitable; with any subsequent pro-rata calculations. As a result, Enviromesh fabricated the panels to suit a revised design using tailor-made gabion baskets at 525mm wide.
Overall, three types of gabion structures were installed at the Harlow Rugby Club project; Mass Gravity Gabion Retaining Walls, Post-Supported Gabion Walls and Gabion Cladding to the reinforced concrete walls. The retaining walls raised the level of the ground of the car park and included an upper gabion balustrade for safety reasons. The Harlow Rugby Club signage completed the post-supported wall on the north elevation; as part of the remedial works to reinforce the club’s brand identity. Installation of the gabion cladding units was to the (north and east) reinforced concrete wall elevations of the building; to maintain the overall budget for the project as a whole.
As a public sporting venue, health and safety was a concern for both the client and the architects. To reduce risks to the public, various safety features included:
Assistance rails attached to the gabion walls on the access ramp walkway and stairway. Via integrated bars which passed through the mesh baskets and attached to the RC walls behind the gabion cladding.
Helicals installed on the exposed corners of the gabion baskets to create rounded corners and to reduce the potential for snagging.
Wall heights of the post-supported gabion walls were specified at two metres in the initial design phase; to discourage people from attempting to climb the walls.