Universal Design Studio
Heyne Tillett Steel
The Science Museum
The key structural element in the new Information Age Gallery is a raised elliptical walkway which runs throughout the gallery and bridges the spaces in between six interactive ‘story boxed’ zones.
Primary support is provided via these steel- framed ‘story boxes’ and additional intermediate supports off existing columns, with seemingly invisible connections giving the illusion of the walkway piercing uninterruptedly through the pods.
The deck comprises a simple curved box ‘spine beam’ with regularly spaced cantilevering ‘ribs’ at either side, which was well equipped to handle torsion generated by the plan curves and eccentric column supports.
The walkway was delivered as a series of 6.2m long cassettes with the cantilevering ‘arms and glass balustrade supporting edge members pre- welded to the ‘spine’ offsite. These were lifted into position using spider cranes and connected via full strength butt welds.
This imaginative design which achieves its supports from existing columns has been carefully detailed, assembled and installed into a highly constrained existing gallery space.
The merits of steelwork and the close collaboration between the designers, contractors and an informed client have all contributed to success.