- Location: London
- Traffic Loading: Heavy, Pedestrian
- Project Size: >10,000 m2
- Region: UK London
- Main Contractor: Balfour Beatty
- Client: Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea
- Architect: Dixon Jones
- Elements: Natural Granite Setts
- Completed: 2012
The £32 million natural paving project was completed on time for the London Olympics, and marked the first major overhaul of Exhibition Road since it was built for the Great Exhibition of 1851.
It is now a single kerb-free paved along its half-mile length, from Hyde Park to South Kensington Underground, capable of withstanding a constant heavy two-way flow of buses, coaches, lorries, cars, and taxis, as well as 11 million walking visitors a year, whilst discouraging through-traffic and remaining pedestrian-friendly.
Each section of paving is bound within a hidden custom-built frame designed to prevent sideways movement and the final paving appears continuous and perfectly symmetrical. The combination of a concrete road base, a 300mm layer of Steintec Tuffbed 2-pack bedding mortar, and a coating of Tuffbond priming mortar to the base of every one of the granite setts -- each 160mm square at the surface by 180mm deep -- should help the project comfortably achieve its design life of 40 years.
The project, Initiated by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, was designed by architects Dixon Jones (designers of the Royal Opera House), with a brief to modernise the street's design to reflect its cultural and architectural importance and draw together its famous museums and frontages.
Composed of nearly 17,000 square metres of granite setts, incorporating tactile and contrasting paving materials, the project took nearly two years to complete, but opened on time to entice visitors to the 2012 London Olympics.
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