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working details

Visitor centre, St David's, PembrokeshireSmith Roberts Associates

The visitor centre building consists of a large singlestorey information and gallery space with glazed walls at the north side which face a paved circular courtyard. The 3.8m high rear wall is formed of reinforced concrete clad on the outside with re-used stone and curved to follow the line of the courtyard. An entrance in the wall leads to a lower single-story space, with a shallow-pitched turf roof, for staff accommodation.

The information and gallery space is covered with a Rheinzink zinc roof supported on pairs of glulam rafters. The roof extends over the glazed north wall, where the paired rafters rest on a series of cast stone columns.

A purpose-made steel bracket connects each set of paired rafters to the top of a column. A projecting plate is flitched between the rafters and bolted through them.

The bracket base, circular to match the column top, is stud-fixed into it and grouted.The columns were cast in 100mm thick curved sections, of semi-dry mix using white cement and limestone, and filled with standard concrete. Pockets were cast in each column to accommodate the supports to a curved laminated chestnut seat.

The glazed wall to the information and gallery space is formed of solid oak mullions and double-glazed units of toughened glass. Oak transoms run below the rafters with panels of glass louvres in aluminium frames fixed above them.

The rafters are framed on each side by a mullion; the space between the mullions is filled with insulated Trespa panels. The mullions are formed of inner and outer panels; the inner panels are used as glazing beads to secure the glass.

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