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An octagonal steel structure with triple columns

Basildon Bell Tower Buro Happold

The walls of the octagonal bell tower are of frameless 3m x 1.2m panels of 15mm toughened glass. The structure is formed of eight triple columns, consisting of three 139.7mm-diameter steel tubes; they are tied together at glass joint lines by 20mm steel Y-shaped brackets. Two of the tubes are set outside the glass envelope; the third is set within it and is welded to an octagonal ring beam, a 89.9mm chs, at floor levels - every 3m vertically. The glass panels are bolted at their corners to stainless steel brackets which are fixed to the ring beams. The roof is constructed of eight pre-curved 139.7mm diameter chss, braced horizontally and vertically and sheathed in copper.

The bell chamber floor is a 150mm concrete slab supported by beams which radiate from the perimeter diameter ring beam to an inner chs ring beam. An access ladder fits the central hole in the inner beam. Voids in the slab are lined with acoustic insulation. The bell supports are placed on a 250mm concrete 'doughnut' isolated from the slab by 25mm cork lining. Tubular T-sections welded along the tops of the beams give support to the slabs.

The bellringer floor, 3m above ground level, and the sounding chamber floor, 9m above ground level, are also supported by an inner and outer ring beam, with tubular beams radiating between them. They support timber joists and 125 x 25mm floorboards. Floor vents around the perimeter allow vertical movement of air. The ceiling consists of 200mm wide timber panels which are lapped under and over each other. The structure is stiffened by cross-bracing in the form of 30mm diameter steel rods connected to the columns.

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