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STRUCTURE

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A steel frame was chosen as the most appropriate structure for the building which incorporates an exposed plant area at the south end, and continuous bands of glazing on every floor on the east and west elevations.

The steelwork is galvanised and some elements are exposed on the facade.

Several structural solutions were considered and the most effective one chosen. Composite floor slabs are supported by steel beams at 3m centres. Internal columns are spaced at 6m centres and perimeter columns spaced at 3m centres. The frame includes rhs box sections with cantilever bottom plates which act as lintels over the strip windows.

On this part of the Science Park the ground conditions consist of Beckley Sand overlain by approximately two metres of made ground. To keep the foundations above the water table, and to limit differential settlements, it was decided to improve the made ground and upper level of Beckley Sand by Vibro-displacement; traditional reinforced-concrete pad and strip foundations. Steel-fibre-reinforced, ground-bearing slabs were laid.

The east and west walls comprise stack-bonded, fair-faced blockwork; the north elevation is clad with terracotta or cedar panelling in steel frames fixed to the external leaf of the blockwork cavity wall. The walls were strengthened with bed-joint reinforcement and various forms of stainless steel and galvanised straps/ties to the steel frame. A horizontal movement joint was provided in the external leaf of the blockwork at the second- floor lintels around the preimeter of the building.

Philip K Brake, Bunyan Meyer

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