Stainless Steel and Gabion Mesh Case Study

Gabion Baskets from FH Brundle were used for the new Scottish Parliament landscaping project.

Designed by Enric Miralles, the landscaping of the new Holyrood site presented a challenge for the main contractor Laing O’Rourke. Although level differences within the landscaped area varied, in places they were as marked as 5 metres. The solution was the introduction of gabion baskets filled with stone salvaged during the demolition of the buildings previously occupying the site; their appearance was not only of paramount architectural importance, but they also needed to satisfy the issues of aesthetics, durability, sustainability and cost.

One of the issues faced during the construction was the fact that typical zinc gabion mesh has a different appearance from that desired; so alternative mesh forms, more compatible with the architectural design were considered. The solution to the problem was the use of stainless steel gabion mesh and over a period of approximately 12 months, F H Brundle provided Burdens, supplier to Laing O'Rourke with around fifty stainless steel gabion baskets of varying sizes.

To date, The Scottish Parliament building has won nine major architectural awards, including the specialist ‘urban and landscape' category which recognises the project for demonstrating a high quality urban design and landscape architecture.

Properly designed, specified and constructed gabion baskets are capable of meeting all the technical and architectural design criteria associated with a retaining wall. Gabion baskets are economical and environmentally acceptable, especially when local rock and soils are used as backfill. They are available in a range of mesh sizes depending on which material is used to fill them. Gabion baskets have a high compressive resistance and tensile strength capacity. They allow free drainage of water through the structure and vegetation can be incorporated to blend in with the local environment.

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Scottish Parliament


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