Tesco Project Heart


Project Heart is a new development located in Welwyn Garden City. This will be a new multifunctional space for Tesco PLC’s head offices. The new campus will provide new event space, atrium space, testing kitchens, offices, gym and a new Tesco Express.

The multi-functional space will provide an opportunity to host events, present products and promote new initiatives. The central atrium space acts as the building’s prime focus, giving staff an opportunity to get together and host presentations. The development aims to provide an area for staff to connect, collaborate and innovate. As well as offering a new customer experience centre.

Enviromesh were contacted in early 2015 to consult on the Project Heart scheme. It was a further two and a half years before commencement works (whilst the main site contractors completed the initial construction phases). The intervening period was certainly useful in terms of project planning and on-going consultation. Therefore ultimately meant we had safer access to a less congested site. There were, however, a number of other key challenges to address.


LOM Architecture & Design contacted Andy Fields, Technical Manager, in early 2015 to go for a meeting in Welwyn Garden City to discuss the future project and how to use gabions applications on-site. McLaren Construction later brought in Enviromesh, with whom they had previously worked with on the new Premier Inn, Uxbridge scheme. The project originally started as only Post-Supported Walls surrounding the building, the gabion application expanded once installation had commenced on-site. Once the client had seen these works and wanted to expand the use of Gabion Landscaping solutions. This was with the main focus being on the architectural design of the scheme.


As a result of the early design consultations with the client and architect, Enviromesh recommended a Post-Supported Gabion Wall solution. This suited the architect’s vision for the building as a whole as well as the practical function it would serve. At Project Heart, the post supported wall ran for just over 100 metres around the entire perimeter of the building. This included apertures left for service doors and windows.


For this project, the client had specified 6G Gritstone from a quarry in Preston, 200+ miles away. As a result, the logistics, costs and efficiencies involved in coordinating stone to arrive on-site at regular intervals. In volumes that could be easily managed and processed.

To ensure smooth delivery to site, the stone call-off was two to three days in advance. To coordinate onward transport arrangements. Deliveries increased from the standard 20 tonnes to 30-tonne loads. Meaning the deliveries could be more efficient using full, rather than partially-full loads. As an architecturally-led project, where the emphasis was on achieving a high standard of visual aesthetic. Temporary placement of the delivered stone on a geotextile membrane ensured kept the stone as clean as possible. This avoided the need for jet washing post-completion. As a result of the main building’s on-going construction during the installation of the gabion walls. The additional measure prevented water use at high pressure in close proximity to—and potentially compromising—the building’s exterior seals etc.


To ensure correct alignment to the walls free from deformation, scaffolding tubes were temporarily secured to the outer 4mm Galfan Coated welded mesh gabion faces during the build process. This along with the time and attention in the placing of the stone all added to the quality of the finished construction.

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