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Niall McLaughlin makes mobile waves in Hull

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A new centre in Hull celebrating the city's built environment is set to open next year in an innovative, mobile building by Niall McLaughlin Architects.

The project, won by the practice through competition earlier this year, will be a model of energy-efficient design as well as housing exhibitions and events celebrating the city and its architecture.

Designed as a kit of largely prefabricated parts, it can be assembled and reassembled as it moves location about the city during the next 20 years.

Project architect Bev Dockray said the building aimed to connect with Hull, its history and its estuarine setting.

'From consultations with local residents, it seems that Hull has turned its back on the sea that was once at the heart of the city, ' Dockray said. 'We were interested in Hull's fading memory of the sea that once formed part of the imagination of the city.'

To reflect this, images of the sea filmed in real time during the day will be projected onto the roof of the building. The 'screen' roof itself will be a first - a translucent structure that achieves the same thermal performance as an opaque roof and yet floods the exhibition space with diffused daylight.

Solar panels and wind turbines supported on lightweight columns will provide the centre with electricity for lighting. It will be heated using carbon-neutral wood pellets.

The project is being funded by regional development agency Yorkshire Forward and construction is due to begin in February.

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