Saffron Square

The vibrant colours of Saffron Square make it a striking addition to the south London skyline

The vibrant colours of Saffron Square make it a striking addition to the south London skyline


Philip Kite. Ramboll

Philip Kite

Team Director, Building Services
T: +44 7918 690 884

A multi-unit residential development in Croydon incorporating an iconic 44-storey tower and a new public town square, this highly sustainable urban complex incorporates Ramboll designed building services throughout.

The development forms part of the London Borough of Croydon’s regeneration plans, with a view to making Croydon London’s third city. The scheme comprises commercial uses on ground and part first floor levels with 792 apartments and penthouses on the upper floors. The development includes 36 affordable shared ownership apartments through Affinity Sutton (now Clarion Housing Group) and the total GIA is 46,400m². The development has been undertaken in 6 phases with construction commencing in 2010, initial occupation starting in 2013 with the first 5 phases fully occupied in March 2014. The final phase, the 45-storey tower was occupied in 2017.

At the heart of Saffron Square is a landscaped public square with cafes, bars and shops. This high quality open space offers a safe and attractive environment for people to engage, rest and play. The new square has been designed to be accessible to all and provides a range of functions.

Ramboll has provided MEP full-design services since the inception of the project in 2006, taking the scheme through the initial planning submission and two further updates. 

MEP for high-rise 

We worked closely with the client, Berkeley Homes, Housing Association Affinity Sutton (now part of the Clarion Housing Group), the M&E contractors and on development retailers to design and implement MEP services that would meet the needs of all stakeholders.  

Ramboll’s innovative design solutions enabled an ECOHOME “Very Good” sustainable rating to be achieved, using high levels of thermal insulation and energy-efficient building fabric, reducing heat loss from all the properties. Low energy lighting has also been placed throughout the development.

A combined heat and power generation plant in the tower block basement meant carbon dioxide emissions could be reduced by more than 30%, using a centralised LTHW heating system.

Localised whole house systems were used in most apartments to combat the emanating noise and air home pollution from Wellesley Road. This enabled the incorporation of heat exchangers, a boost ventilation mode for summertime ventilation attenuators and NOX filters, where necessary. A smoke-extract system was also installed for each internal corridor. 

Spatial Allowance, co-ordination and placement

The floor to floor height is critical in the design of tall buildings. We took the lead in the coordination of the MEP and structural zones, in conjunction with the architect, ensuring the desired ceiling height was achieved. By undertaking this early in the design the overall height of the building was rationalised to meet the building AOD level requirements agreed at the planning stages.

Experience in high-rise buildings has shown that riser allocation is critical as it determines the core size and has a much higher effect on NIA in relation to low rise buildings. Getting the most efficient spatial/riser requirements is critical. We achieved this by undertaking the initial spatial assessment using 3D modelling (Revit/BIM) whilst taking into account the exact support/expansion allowance needed for the services. This ensures the risers maximise the efficiency of the building, while mitigating any installation issues. 

Façade optimisation

Ramboll input was vital to the development of the façade. Our designs achieved the right balance between the energy (passive design by reducing the need for cooling and reducing the ventilation requirements), architectural design of the façade, occupant comfort (minimising overheating) and health and wellbeing (daylight provision).

The location of the louvres is vitally important to ensure the ventilation systems function efficiently and coordinate the architectural and structural designs.  As a result, utility cupboards and ceiling heights within the flats were optimised leading to a reduction in NIA and minimising impact on the internal interior/architectural aspirations.  

Public health drainage design

We ensured that early coordination of the drainage design with the architectural flat layouts took place at the earliest opportunity. We ensured all wet areas use fully vertical stacks to negate the need to offsets which increase the risk of blockage, noise breakouts, and deeper ceiling voids within apartments. By doing this early in the design stage we fixed the apartment configuration, mitigating the need for iterative designs and unsightly bulkheads within the flats.


240 Blackfriars Road
London SE1 8NW
United Kingdom
Tel:+44 20 7631 5291

Company registration

Company registration

Ramboll UK Limited. Registered in England & Wales. Company registration no. 03659970. Registered office: 240 Blackfriars Road, London SE1 8NW

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