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The Lowry Michael Wilford & Partners

The foyer of the Lowry has a 16m high curved glass facade, flanked on one side by a cylindrical tower, on the other by a hexagonal building, and bi-sected by the main entrance and booking office.The Lyric Theatre, enclosed in a canted cast insitu concrete wall, rises behind it. The foyer has a stainless steel insulated roof supported by a series of painted 350 x 350mm cruciform steel columns and tapered I-section beams and purlins.

The facade leans forward towards the plaza; it is formed of 25mm singleglazed laminated (12mm/PVB/ 12mm) glass panels set between composite I-section stainless steel mullions. One edge of each glass panel is secured at the inner flange of an Isection with stainless steel angles while the other edge is secured at the outer flange of the adjacent I-section.

The facade is faceted at the mullions to form the curve;

the I-sections are formed of flat plates to accommodate the changes in angle.

Panels of 2.9 x 2.4m glass, one above the other, are installed between each mullion; they are divided by solid stainless-steel transoms which help to stiffen the structure.

At ground level the mullions are supported on steel brackets, fixed to the concrete floor slab, which project over a paved ha-ha. A flexible joint at the head allows the roof to move + or - 30mm. The facade is designed for a one-in-50-year wind load to accommodate + or - 100mm movement.

As the foyer is an interstitial space the facade is single-glazed and uninsulated. The effects of thermal bridging are minimised by warm air blown at high and low level.

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