The architects at the Quartermile development in central Edinburgh wanted to create a contoured area of grass and trees on the roof of an underground car park sandwiched between a new-build section of the project and one of the long, thin wings of the refurbished Infirmary building. They chose Jablite Geofoam blocks – light, strong and easy to assemble in a restricted space. Jablite delivered a bespoke solution, with the blocks cut to order to achieve instant landscaping
"The Jablite design guys handled that side of things superbly well. And it all came together fine. It was easy to assemble"
|Job||Design and supply of Jablite Geofoam for landscaping of underground car park roof|
|Site||Quartermile Luxury Apartments, Edinburgh|
|Core product||Jablite Geofoam, bespoke cut into pieces that fit together|
|Site area||270 square metres|
The topography of this location in central Edinburgh, on the edge of one of the City’s largest open spaces, The Meadows, presented particularly testing challenges.
On a 19 acre site, formerly home to the Royal Infirmary, new-build luxury apartments, offices and commercial premises were being integrated with the best of the iconic Infirmary buildings, which have dominated the skyline of the City’s university quarter since their construction in 1879.
The new had to be sensitively integrated with the old – and landscaping concerns were paramount. On this part of the project, the architects wanted to create a contoured area of grass and trees on the roof of an underground car park sandwiched between a new-build section and one of the long, thin wings of the old Infirmary.
But the brief was complicated by the fact that, to blend with the existing architecture, the car park’s concrete slab roof was constructed with a 1 in 30 slope from front to back.
“In some ways it was the reverse of a conventional design challenge because, in order to landscape the site with mounds and contours, we first had to create a series of flat terraces on a sloping site,” says John Kelly, sales manager at Alumasc.
And of course weight was a paramount consideration. “Creating all the mounds and contouring with earth would be way too heavy. It needed polystyrene to create the correct loading.”
Geofoam is much lighter than conventional products, yet has a very high strength-to-weight ratio.
The product is being widely used in civil engineering and construction projects across the country as it is easier to handle, quicker to install and more competitively priced than concrete. Geofoam is only around one per cent of the weight of traditional fill materials, in addition to being both thermally efficient and much easier to install.
The Jablite design team devised a matrix solution, with the desired structure built up using scores of Geofoam blocks, cut to order, which were assembled on site like a giant 3-D jigsaw puzzle.
This Geofoam structure was then covered with a 400 millimetre layer of a growing medium (the structure also featured a number deeper growing “wells” in a number of locations, to accommodate small trees) which was then turfed.
Kelly says he was happy not just with the end result but with the ease of execution. “The Jablite design guys handled that side of things superbly well. And it all came together fine. It was easy to assemble,” he says.
Geofoam is the UK’s leading expanded polystyrene lightweight fill solution. Jablite Geofoam comes with our in-house civil engineering expertise and, our design and technical support. It is becoming well-known in civil engineering and ground engineering markets,