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BUBBLING UNDER

FOCUS ON: FLOORING

BubbleDeck is a structural floor system invented 10 years ago that slashes the weight of concrete floors, with 1kg of recycled plastic replacing 100kg of concrete. The patented technique uses recycled plastic 'bubbles' as void-formers in the middle of slabs where concrete would not have any structural function, eliminating 35 per cent of a slab's weight.

Using BubbleDeck with a filigree construction (where biaxial spanning slabs are connected to concrete columns without beams) improves the structure: floor spans between columns can be up to 50 per cent longer; supports can be positioned more flexibly; cantilevers can be longer; and it is easier to adapt to irregular plan layouts. The thinner structural elements also allow for more open facades.

BubbleDeck cuts a building's environmental footprint without changing thermal mass or acoustic and fire-resistance characteristics.

By reducing dead weight, the supporting structure and foundations can be pared down;

down-stand beams and loadbearing walls are eliminated, allowing quicker and simpler service installation and partition erection.

The first UK projects using BubbleDeck are under way and it has been used to build more than 1 million m 2 of fl oors in Denmark and Holland. Below are some notable examples.

THE MILLENNIUM TOWER (WEENA TOREN) Architect: AGS Architekten & Planners B.V. te Heerlen Weena Toren in Rotterdam, the Netherlands' second highest building, gained two extra storeys by substituting BubbleDeck for the design's hollow-core concrete floors.

Use of BubbleDeck allowed beams to be omitted, resulting in a thinner floor construction, so that the extra storeys could be added without exceeding the approved building height.

The number of constructionmaterial truck deliveries was cut by about 500 and the number of crane lifts by half.

The construction cycle per storey, meanwhile, was cut from five days to four.

Rapproximately =DHUSPARKEN Architect: Dissing & Weitling BubbleDeck was used for the first time in Denmark on this 7,000m 2, four-storey offi ce building in Copenhagen, creating a light, elegant structure with transparent facades. The structure consists of 280mm-thick BubbleDeck slabs cantilevering 3.2m in three directions from slim columns. Flat, beam-free soffits maximise ceiling heights and simplify services and partitioning.

ABC BUILDING, UTRECHT Architect: Erick van Egeraat associated architects Central to the design concept of this 14,500m 2 building is the infiltration of daylight deep within the plan. The thinness of the BubbleDeck floor and resulting column structure enable this, with light passing through the external skin, composed of 430 unique glass panels. The architect made the most of BubbleDeck's ability to accommodate service runs within the slab and its uninterrupted flat soffit.

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