Materialise – Practice
London Design Biennale Sculpture
The concept of ΑΝΥΠΑΚΟΗ (pron. anipakoi) has been used throughout history to describe the Greek temperament, with explorations of disobedience dating back to Ancient Greece. In the spirit of disobedience, Greece’s kinetic installation changes our interactions with the physical environment, challenging a perception of architecture as something static, or emotionally inert. It encourages visitors to imagine a world in which buildings, boundaries and walkways morph and adapt in response to human intent, shedding light on a potential future for cities.
We worked with Studio INI to provide structural engineering analysis for a sculpture installation at the London Biennale 2018, at Somerset House London. An outdoor kinetic installation that opens as a person walks through, the structure is a 17-metre-long wall constructed from a steel spring skeleton built up with recycled plastic which flexes, morphs and breathes around the human body.
The team provided the necessary calculations and drawings to demonstrate the pre-designed installation is safe for public use, materialising an exciting brief for an art piece showcasing the relationship in constant flux between people, buildings and society.
The project team of the newly opened 750-room hotel for Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn Express at Heathrow Airport’s Terminal 4 appointed us to reveal the potential for cost savings, taking the design through to construction.
The structural scheme was developed from stage 3 onwards, improving efficiencies substantially. The designed raft foundation solution, in lieu of piled foundations, meant 500+ fewer piles were needed, reducing construction costs by approx. £1m. Further programme benefits were realised through using precast vertical elements (columns and walls).
At Heathrow T4, the presented brief was realised even when brought late into the project, with both costs and programme time savings, while ensuring the building has a resilient future.
Blackpool Conference Centre
A £27 million landmark in Blackpool’s historic Winter Gardens, and a key piece of the local council’s investment and regeneration strategy, the Conference Centre is the newest addition to the city’s Victorian quarter.
Though brought into the process as the design phase was already underway, the team used BIM to show the proposed changes to the original brief and reduced the overall steel frame weight by 40 tonnes, materialising a significant impact on the project’s financial and environmental costs.
An alternative structural solution was designed to accommodate a new substation and service across the site, taking temporary support off the adjacent listed building, while maintaining electricity supply to the surrounding buildings. Though an intricate sequence of works, mindful of the adjacent listed structures, the proposed process allows for a full art and performance programme to function uninterrupted throughout the construction process.
Complete with state-of-the-art facilities, a new environmentally controlled exhibition space, as well as a new atrium reception and entrance to the Winter Gardens, its capacity has been increased to cater for major conferences, of up to 7,000 people. Once completed in 2019, the conference centre will be an invaluable asset towards Blackpool’s broader economic and social regeneration plan.