Wood Awards Winner 2010
AWARD CATEGORIES: STRUCTURAL
Pringle Richards Sharratt Architects' brief for the Hull History Centre was to create an integrated state-of-the-art storage and public access facility for the archives and local studies collections of Hull City Council and the University of Hull.
The building is on the site of a former car park and is on two major pedestrian routes proposed by the Hull Regeneration Masterplan. The project included the creation of a new park to the south of the buiLding.
A public arcade runs the length of the building, providing an intermediate space between the city and the archive, extending the public realm into the centre. The main building houses a library, search room, lecture theatre, conservation studios and offices.
Glue-laminated timber was chosen for the arcade structure because of its sustainable credentials and the ability to form the timber members into the curvaceous shapes required to realise the project. The timber used is a European whitewood, manufactured by Kingston Craftsmen in their workshop near the site.
The curved nature of the ETFE cladding on plan and elevation posed a variety of structural and geometric challenges. Options considered included double-curved timber members, particularly the eaves beam. This would have been difficult and expensive to fabricate, and could have generated substantially more waste timber in the fabrication process. Instead, following extensive design development, a geometry was chosen that gave the desired curvature of the roof on plan and elevation, but only required singly curved glulam members.
Using inflated ETFE cushions as cladding introduced significant horizontal forces into the timber members, particularly if a cushion deflated. This required a detailed assessment of unusual load cases and the ribs and timber beams were designed to resist the resultant torsion induced in the members and keep deflections within acceptable limits. Care was also taken in the detailing of the timber connections to develop elegant solutions in keeping with the overall approach to the arcade.
The judges said: "The architects have done an excellent job making an ordinary space more exciting with this interesting structural arrangement. An elegant and clever piece of architecture."
BUILDING OWNER: HULL CITY COUNCIL
ARCHITECT: PRINGLE RICHARDS SHARRATT ARCHITECTS LTD
STRUCTURAL ENGINEER: ALAN BAXTER & ASSOCIATES LLP
MAIN CONTRACTOR: ISG REGIONS
JOINERY COMPANY: KINGSTON CRAFTSMEN
OTHER ASSOCIATED COMPANY: RAWCLIFFE ASSOCIATES