Design Awards: 2006: Commendation

English Institute of Sport, University of Bath

English Institute of Sport, University of Bath

Architect

David Morley Architects

Structural Engineer

Buro Happold Engineers

Steelwork Contractor

Midland Steel Structures Ltd

Main Contractor

Bovis Lend Lease

Client

University of Bath

The English Institute of Sport is an elite training facility at the University of Bath – one of four regional centres providing facilities for world-class athletes. It comprises a multi-purpose sports hall, an eight-court tennis hall, a 140m indoor sprint track, a dojo, an indoor athletics hall and fencing sale, in addition to hydrotherapy facilities, fitness suite, sports injuries clinic, human performance centre and other auxiliary facilities. A key aim of the design was to ensure contact between visitors and users, achieved through high levels of visibility and natural ventilation and lighting from roof lights make it a more appealing environment to both groups.

Ged Roddy, Director of Sport at the University of Bath, said of the project ‘it puts us at the top of the tree in terms of university sports facilities. There isn’t one in the country that can compete.’ At the official opening, Tim Henman described the facility as a ‘world-class training environment.’

The primary structural challenge of the project was to enclose the large areas in a cost effective and aesthetically appealing manner. Each sports activity has a precisely defined minimum volume requirement which had to be kept free of obstructions. Steel was the obvious choice for a lightweight long span structure.

The tennis hall is bisected by a high level viewing gallery providing clear views to all eight courts. The walkway is supported by three structural ‘trees’, which also support the primary roof trusses at mid span. The ‘trees’ are three dimensional lattice columns, constructed from fully welded circular hollow sections. The unique feature of the trees is that they are also the primary element of the stability system for the tennis hall, as they cantilever up from the foundations to provide a row of lateral restraints in the middle of the hall. At 75m long, the primary roof trusses are expected to experience significant variations in length as the temperature varies in the unheated hall. Positioning the lateral restraints centrally allowed this movement to be accommodated without locking significant thermal stress in to the structure. They are detailed to minimise dust, and the design allows nets to hang from the bottom chord of the truss in both halls.

Externally the link between the University park and the new facility was created physically and visually through the colonnade. The 18m long spans, created by the innovative elliptical section steel support columns, give a muscular feel to this reinterpretation of the sporting tradition of ancient Greece and the Roman city of Bath.

Judges’ Comment

s:

Sporting achievement is high in public perception. As part of the efforts to raise national performance, this project is one of a small group which nurtures young talent, bringing it through to international competition.

The complex provides a gateway to the University campus, cleverly incorporating some earlier buildings.

The steel structures are well conceived and detailed, and make a strong contribution to the carefully constructed ambience of the institute, which is important for success with the young sportspeople.

The Emirates Stadium, Arsenal Football Club

The Emirates Stadium, Arsenal Football Club

Architects

HOK Sport

Structural Engineer

Buro Happold

Steelwork Contractor

Watson Steel Structures Ltd

Main Contractor

Sir Robert McAlpine

Client

Arsenal Football Club

Roof Design

The roof has two parallel primary trusses spanning 204m along the length of the stadium. These sit on 11m high tripods at each corner and in turn support two 100m span secondary girders that span East West between them. This framework of main girders supports 32 tertiary trusses which span back to the perimeter of the stadium where they are connected to a continuous ring truss resting on perimeter posts.

The main girders, tertiary trusses and perimeter ring truss are all triangular in cross section and constructed mainly out of tubes. Several costing exercises were carried out during the design development stage and it was found that the tubular sections were the most cost effective because of weight savings, less surface area and the fabrication details are much simpler when using tubes in triangulated girders.

Fabrication

Watson introduced some new and innovative techniques into the fabrication process to ensure that the large complex individual elements were fabricated to the necessary accuracy. This involved using the X-Steel model of the individual components to produce a three-dimensional template-jig of the component, which was then orientated to provide the best build angle and level for the shop floor fabricators. Using this new technique Watson produced complicated fabrications to a high degree of accuracy that fitted perfectly on site.

Erection

The roof girders are 15m deep and 10m wide and were delivered to site as a ‘kit of parts’. The assembly was difficult and challenging because of the complicated 3D geometry and temporary works were provided to locate all the individual components until they were site welded. The girders were assembled in halves and then lifted into position using large cranes.

The designers had to account for the stresses induced by the dead weight deflection of each half and the temporary trestles were kept in place until the entire roof including the perimeter ring truss was complete.

Conclusion

This successful project is an excellent example of how a major project should be managed. The key factors that have contributed to its success are:

  • a clear vision from the client
  • well considered, detailed designs integrating the client’s requirements in a visually striking structure
  • early involvement of the main contractor and key subcontractors allowed construction issues and design requirements to be fully coordinated and the best value solutions achieved
  • application of leading edge technology into the design and fabrication process
  • proactive and positive attitude from all parties.

Judges’ Comment

s:

Floating above this 60,000 seat stadium, the design of the roof structure posed major challenges to the team, being within a constrained site and with restrictions on its height.

The intelligent steelwork solution involves a “dished” roof profile, hung from the main structure, enabling the main truss and secondary girder depths to be well accommodated. For spectators, the uninterrupted sweep and clear lines of the roof draw the eye towards the pitch.

There have been many stadium roofs constructed in recent years, and this development represents an interesting step forward.

National Waterfront Museum, Swansea

National Waterfront Museum, Swansea

Architect

Wilkinson Eyre Architects

Structural Engineer

Arup

Steelwork Contractor

Billington Structures Ltd

Main Contractor

Mowlem Building

Client

National Waterfront Museum Swansea

Forming a key element in Swansea’s regenerated Maritime Quarter, the design for this landmark museum was driven by the site’s historical narrative and the need to achieve coherence between a refurbished existing building and extensive new gallery space. Steel was used in the construction of these new galleries, enabling the team to create the sweeping, column-free interiors necessary for large exhibits with a considerable lightness of touch.

The design is a response to a broad-ranging brief, the main objective of which was to underpin local regeneration. The consideration of sustainability issues were an integral part of the design process, ensuring the best value was obtained environmentally as well as economically, and the widest possible measures were employed to minimise the negative impact of the construction process.

The project involved the refurbishment of a Grade II listed warehouse on the dockside, and the construction of a series of new-build gallery spaces alongside. The refurbishment of the existing building included extensive repairs to badly corroded perimeter steelwork and sympathetic changes to the interior, opening up the exhibition spaces within. The existing steel roof trusses were retained, their triangular geometry emphasising the airiness of the space and providing good distribution routes for ductwork and cabling.

Connected to the warehouse by an expansive atrium, a series of new galleries form an arc of interlocking, double-height volumes. The decision to use steel for the structure of these new galleries enabled large, column-free interior spaces to be achieved with the lightest possible structure, the steel being easily integrated into the glazed elevations. The team established the principles of the design early on, refining them to create a steel structure that was simple and elegant, with a clear hierarchy of parts in those elements that remain visible. The use of steel enabled structure, services and architecture to be successfully integrated, and allowed the significant areas of roof and upper floor cantilevers to be achieved in the new galleries. For these new galleries the steel was fabricated while the substructure was being constructed, then delivered to site and rapidly erected to ensure the earliest possible watertight construction.

The roof structure is geometrically complex, and close collaboration with the steelwork contractor helped determine the most practicable way of reviewing the connections. Rather than reviewing hundreds of steel fabrication drawings, the designers simply viewed a three-dimensional computer model of the entire structure, created by the steelwork contractors. Together they swiftly ‘flew’ around the structure looking at critical aspects of the detailing, saving many weeks within the overall construction programme.

Judges’ Comment

s:

This museum complex creates an excellent result with the minimum of fuss and ostentation.

It skilfully links old and new, into a sequence of effective spaces. Crisp steelwork and glazed curtain walling play a crucially important part.

The project has a simple, clean design that is logical in its detailing and uncompromising in its execution. The result is a classic of its type.

The OCS Stand, The Oval

The OCS Stand, The Oval

Architect

The Miller Partnership

Structural Engineer

SKM Anthony Hunts

Steelwork Contractor

Severfield-Reeve Structures Ltd

Main Contractor

Taylor Woodrow Construction Ltd

Client

Surrey County Cricket Club

The Oval Cricket Ground in South East London was upgraded in 2004/5. The run-down Vauxhall end stands were replaced with a modern steel framed building. The new seating, spread over five storeys, and a feature curved steel roof have provided an increased ground capacity and upgraded facilities appropriate to the calibre of matches hosted at the ground. The main multi-storey building houses various hospitality facilities such as restaurants, concessions, conference suites and viewing areas.

The building is designed as a braced steel frame with dedicated stability bracing and portalisation in areas where bracing would interfere with views to the pitch. The seating terraces are formed from precast concrete units supported by reinforced concrete walls and raking steel beams in the lower tier and fabricated tapered steel cantilever beams in the upper terraces. The suspended floors are constructed from lightweight concrete on profile steel decking acting compositely with the primary steel support beams.

All terrace units were designed with a vertical natural frequency of 6Hz. This was achieved economically by adopting a semi composite action between the terrace units and the cantilever raking steel support beams which increased their stiffness in the dynamic analysis without incurring any weight penalties.

To achieve a clear column free space at ground floor, two of the central support columns were omitted between ground and second floor level. Two deep fabricated plate girders at first floor level support the floor at that level with a storey high transfer truss, located between third and fourth floor supporting second, third and fourth floors.

The roof is supported by circular hollow section columns branching out at high level with four arms to support the curved primary support beams. As these members are external and visible the connections are fabricated to a high architectural/aesthetic standard. Cold formed steel purlins supporting a standing seam metal roof deck and polycarbonate roof covering complete the roof canopy.

High quality paint finish was specified to areas of exposed external steelwork to increase the life to first maintenance period which was a key concern to the client. The project was programmed into two distinct construction phases to suit key international matches mid-way through construction. Phase I consisted of demolition of the existing stands, piling and sub structure, erecting the steelwork frame and lower precast concrete seating. Extensive use of prefabrication enabled these works to be completed on time to allow for a temporary handover during the summer of 2004. Phase II consisted of completing the superstructure, M&E services, fitting out and external works.

The new stand at The Oval was delivered on time and to the client’s budget. The completed building is an elegant and aesthetically pleasing structure that has, in combination with the success of the England Cricket team during the last test match of the Ashes series held there in the summer of 2005, lifted the profile of the ground and Surrey County Cricket Club immensely.

Judges’ Comment

s:

The new stand at the Vauxhall end of this historic cricket ground is covered by a single roof surface, which sweeps up from the ends to the centre, where the greatest height is required.

The roof is supported on a regular grid by “tree” columns, which spring out of the seating structure below. At lower levels the spectator deck is supported by a plate girder cantilever structure. The whole relates cleverly to the integration of the various functions of the ground, the seating and the site.

This is a most appropriate use of steel, in a geometrically complex arrangement, which adds drama and visual excitement to a famous venue.