Cranes over the YMCA JLP01_08_099331
Central London YMCA, Great Russell Street, Camden, Greater London. The construction of the eastern three tower blocks of the Central London YMCA, showing cranes atop and alongside the structure, viewed over rooftops from the east.
It was announced in February 1971 that Laing had started work on a new building at Central London YMCA, to replace an existing building which had opened in the 1910s. The project comprised four residential towers between 6 and 12 storeys high, above a podium and basements. The towers would accommodate 1,200 residents in over 700 single and double bedrooms; staff would be accommodated in penthouse suits on the top of the three lower towers. The towers were built on a two-storey podium containing restaurants, offices, a public library, and shops. Beneath the buildings were basements 16 metres below street level, for car parks, a swimming pool, a gymnasium, a sports hall, and a conference centre. The basements and podium, which were built using reinforced concrete and structural steel, comprised Phase I of the project; the podium was built onto the foundation piles before the basements had been excavated. Construction of the towers began earlier than originally planned: excavated material was removed from the basements using conveyors rather than mounting cranes onto the podium frame, on which the towers were to be built. The towers were clad in 2,000 precast concrete panels and had deeply moulded white concrete window panels, both of which were manufactured by John Laing Concrete in Princes Risborough. The towers were built in Phase II and the building was completed in 1977. A cropped version of this photograph was published in the January 1975 edition of Team Spirit, Laing's newsletter
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