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PERTH CONCERT HALL, PERTHSHIRE

BCI AWARDS REGENERATION

For a project of any size that has made a significant contribution to the regeneration of an underprivileged area or the creation of new facilities making exceptional use of brownfield sites. Sponsored by Gifford.

The first impression of Perth's multi-purpose concert hall is of a somewhat plain and simple structure that was remarkably good value. Customers report that the seats are comfortable and the acoustics fine.

Closer examination reveals the stringency of its client and the design and construction team. Examples of exceptional care and attention to detail are displayed throughout, in public areas, signage, backstage equipment and even beneath the basement.

Cash saved by avoiding over-elaborate bespoke signs, secondary finishes in the corridors, etc. appears to have been invested where it matters - in and around the stage.

The front 5m of the stage is carried on powered vertical screw rams to give it three different configurations. Banks of seating can be moved around the auditorium on an air-cushion trolley to form different arrangements, including a clear space with seating parked under the 10m width of fixed stage.

The y tower is packed with specialised kit way beyond that which would be essential in a single-purpose concert hall. Winches and cranes can pick up and place scenery and props anywhere on the stage.

All this is hung on elaborate steel trusses spanning the building, supported on a main frame rising from an elaborate basement structure designed to cope with both weak foundation strata and uplift from tidal groundwater. Large blocks of very light polystyrene were cast in the basement to minimise foundation loading. Meanwhile massive concrete blocks and stainless-steel ties were included beneath the middle of wide slabs spanning under the auditorium to resist uplift forces induced by the tidal River Tay.

Client Perth & Kinross Leisure Cost £13 million Principal designer Building Design Partnership Structural and M&E engineer Buro Happold Contractor Sir Robert McAlpine

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