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The Body Zone, Millennium Dome

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steel design

The huge Body Zone at the centre of the Millennium Dome is nearing completion. The Nigel Coates-designed body is a large sculptural form of a man and a woman. Visitors will pass through an exhibition space within the body located 7m above ground level.

Underneath the 64,000 shiny gold lenticular tiles of the skin are 180 tonnes of steel. A central 'skeleton', designed by engineer Buro Happold, provided a stable stand-alone platform from which to build up a series of 'skin hoops'. This skeleton consists of straight steel sections, with the exception of the enonormous male foot which is cone shaped, cantilevered 15 metres out from the rest of the body. It is constructed from a pair of tapering, conical steel Vierendeel trusses.

The structure includes a deck at walkway level and a tower running from ground to head level along the line of the joint between the bodies. The tower leans forward at an angle of 22degrees from the vertical, with the highest loaded column in the tower carrying a load of 360 tonnes. It was partially assembled off site.

The skeleton structure supports the skin hoops which range in size from 139.7mm to 76.1mm parallel chs members and are rolled to the profile of the skin to give the final shape of the two bodies.

Measuring 64m from elbow to foot and 27m from the ground to the top of the female's head, the structure has a surface area of 3,500m2. It is expected that up to 4,000 visitors will pass through the zone every hour.


The British Racing Drivers Clubhouse

Ridge and Partners has recently completed the new British Racing Drivers Clubhouse at Silverstone. The new building replaces the old clubhouse on the same site and was conceived as a home for the club and as a backdrop for the festival of the British Grand Prix.

The design priorities were the spectators and their ability to see events. The intention was to create a highly transparent building. This was realised by the steel and structural-glass facade, supported by glass fins, allowing uninterrupted 180-degree views of the circuit.

The building's plan is very simple with two main internal spaces - a restaurant at ground level and a bar on the first floor. Outdoor viewing is an key part of the motor-racing experience: the bar incorporates two external viewing balconies and the restaurant extends onto the lawned garden surrounding the clubhouse. The roof terrace is covered by a tensile fabric canopy supported by a steel structure, allowing viewing of outdoor motor racing in all weathers. There is also a pit-lane viewing canal at the entrance to the pit lane.

On the first floor, a stainless-steel tubular rail follows the curve of the facade. As well as providing support for the maple drink ledges which sit between the glass fins, the rail provides the resistance for the horizontal loadings. The purpose-made joinery includes the doors, panelling, reception desks and bars - all in maple. Skirtings, bar framing and Highgrade ironmongery are brushed stainless steel. Green and grey riven slate has been used for the reception, circulation areas and in front of the bars.

The building, which was commissioned soon after the 1998 Grand Prix, had to be completed for the 1999 Grand Prix on 11 July.




Ridge and Partners




SDC Construction Group




Balustrade Contracts


Europanel by Euro-clad


5 October Marco Goldschmied: The president's inaugural address at the RIBA. Details 0171 580 5533.

6 October Risk Management for Contaminated Land: A ciria seminar at Church House Conference Centre, SW1. Details Tina Wong 0171 222 0445.

8 October 1999 (for two months) Design Sense winners' exhibition: The Design Museum, Shad Thames, London SE1: An exhibition of the short- listed entries in the Design Museum's new Design Sense Awards. Sponsored by British Steel and with a prize of £40,000 (donated by the Rufford Foundation), the competition is the first in the UK to invite both architects and product designers to submit buildings or products which, since completion or during development, have proved to have sustainable value.

11-12 October Delivering Energy Efficiency: The nher 6th National Conference at Stoke-on-Trent. Details Fleur Star 01908 672787.

19-21 October Fire 99: Exhibition and conference at Harrogate. Details 01827 68866.

29-31 October Learning from Cities: International conference on urban design at Caledonian University, Glasgow. Details 0141 331 2668.

28 January - 12 March 2000 Living in the City winners' exhibition: The Design Museum, Shad Thames, London SE1: An exhibition of the winning submissions in The Architecture Foundation's 'Living in the City' international ideas competition. Sponsored by British Steel, the competition looks to identify new ways in which urban living can be rewarding and exciting.

New Publications

Design of Steel Framed Buildings without Applied Fire Protection, Steel Construction Institute, £40 non members, £20 corporate members, £36 individual members.

Fire engineering can be far cheaper than applied fire protection and still achieve the statutory 60 minutes of fire resistance. This is a useful and coherent guide to fire engineering and includes design data sheets for different design options. Details: 01344 872775.

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