The installation of pergolas and awnings at Stratford’s International Quarter has been one of Breezefree’s biggest projects to date.

We were initially approached by the architects Rawls, who had been appointed to work on the International Quarter project, an ambitious new business quarter to be constructed by Lendlease in East London.

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Early into the design of the outdoor areas, Breezefree were asked to offer guidance on the possibilities for overhead cover, with various options explored and technical advice given. As the designs evolved it became apparent that an off-the-shelf solution would not hit the mark, and that eight motorized pergola roofs with bespoke-made frames would be the best solution, practically and aesthetically. Additionally, twenty-one large, top quality awnings would be required to be installed within the façade of each of the retail units.

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With the due date looming for work on site to commence, Lendlease went out to tender, with Breezefree being one of the companies asked to present a proposal. Having submitted an extensive and detailed tender package within a demanding timeframe, Breezefree was awarded the contract with Lendlease.

Breezefree had to begin procurement and manufacturing immediately in order to meet the tight deadlines for the first phase of the project. We also had to deal with a host of other challenges, such as ensuring that the products Breezefree would be installing could withstand the strong winds coming in from the Thames, and working around other trades on what was still a busy construction site.

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The awnings presented a couple of challenges, including the fact that the awning recesses built into the facades of the buildings were not structurally sound enough to contend with the forces that would be exerted due to their size and an installation height of 6m. The solution was for Breezefree to design custom steel restraints to support the awnings, fixed back to structural steel beams within the buildings.

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The bespoke pergola frames were manufactured, galvanized and powdercoated to the high quality finish required by Lendlease. Delivery and installation on site required significant logistical planning, with Breezefree fitting bases designed to allow invisible fixing of the frame below floor level. We used a crane to lift the frames into position in a tight location surrounded by new buildings, trees and paving, all of which needed to be kept pristine. The motorized roofs were then installed, all with fixings that were as hidden as possible.

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The result is an unostentatious installation with elegant clean lines, which belies the considerable challenges that have been overcome. Having completed phase one, we are currently working on delivery of phase two at the facing building, and will also be installing heavy, bespoke concrete planters integrated into the pergola frames with wired trellises.

Despite the tight programme, to date Breezefree has delivered everything to schedule, and has received particularly positive feedback, such as the following from Chris James, the Senior Construction Manager at Lendlease:

“Breezefree are a very good company to work with. The quality of their products is excellent. Their safety is impeccable. They are also very adaptable and helpful. They have a very good understanding of the Lendlease culture. As a whole I would recommend this company and I will also be using them on other Lendlease projects. They are a great team.”

We look forward to completion of phase two and to seeing the whole area come to life as tenants move into the units at this exciting new addition to East London’s vibrant regeneration.

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