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Sheffield Millennium Gallery

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The Millennium Gallery and Winter Garden are part of the multi-million pound 'Heart of the City' development of Sheffield city centre.

The gallery is due to start on site in October. The exposed precast barrel- vaulted concrete structure is multi-functional, forming the finished surfaces, contributing to thermal stability of carefully conditioned gallery spaces, and providing a reflective surface for distributing natural light, as well as supporting building loads.

Buro Happold's Leeds office designed precast-concrete roof vaults to span 15m in pairs of 28-tonne units, to be stitched together on site. The team developed a programme to calculate short-term and long-term deflections of the vaults and reinforcement, to ensure that any normal hairline cracking of concrete will not impair the appearance of the exposed structure.

The Winter Garden, still being developed, is to be a glazed structure of glulam arches. The project is full of technical challenges: arch forms have been evolved from an inverted catenary (the shape formed by a hanging chain). This shape minimises bending forces in the arches under the dead load of glazing, minimising the size of the glulam sections.

Steve Gregson, Matthew Lovell, Dave Hull

Architect: Pringle Richards Sharratt

Structural engineering, building services engineering, fire engineering and access consultancy: Buro Happold

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