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Structure

Constructed completely in steel, this building uses technology similar to that used in shipbuilding and was in fact constructed by Merseyside Ship Repairers.

The four units are based on the same structural system with either single- or twostorey spaces adapted for their individual uses, such as bar, restaurant and nightclub.

The steel construction provides the primary structure of ground and first floors, roof and walls integral with the steel skin, which provides the external envelope. The ground and first floors consist of timber joists spanning between the primary steel ribs and supporting plywood decking.

The units were prefabricated in sections to meet the height and width restrictions of normal transport, avoiding the expense of escorted delivery. On site the units were bolted together with neoprene gaskets to produce a weathertight seal.

The design also addresses the site constraints incurred due to the units being located within the arches of an operational Railtrack viaduct.The requirement for access for inspection and maintenance of the brickwork of the arches was resolved by the freestanding design of the units, which allows free access to all sides, and the roof of the units was designed to take access loading for Railtrack inspection purposes.

The restriction on craneage next to a live railway line was resolved by using an all-terrain forklift truck for unloading and positioning of the segments on the pre-constructed substructure consisting of steel mini-piles and reinforced concrete ground beams.

The front elevation of the units is constructed in steel with a fibreglass skin allowing the architect to produce a complex double-curved form. This forms a canopy when open and provides secure enclosure to the glazed facade of the units when closed.

The canopy is counterweighted and is operated electrically by winches and cables.

The steel was given a protective paint coating in the fabrication yard and a final finish on site. Internally the steel is protected by the spray-applied insulation layer.

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