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History man

Reading the article on the Silken Hotel (NCE 6 March) brought back memories of a similar complex scheme in 1970, on the same Aldwych site.

English Electric House, built in the early sixties on the site of the original Gaiety Theatre, and the adjoining Marconi Wing, were bought by the American Citibank Corporation to be converted to open plan offices.

As the resident engineer, I was involved in a fascinating structural analysis of an early steel building. At fifth floor level we found storey height trusses with riveted connections spanning 12m across the building and supporting lower floors by structural hangers. These trusses were hidden in breeze concrete walls.

Our work involved removing as many cross walls as possible by replacing them with large span beams.

This was achieved in the shallow floor depth by making up 12m span beams with twin steel 300mm by 300mm universal column sections braced together.

As the recent article reports, hung floors, universal column sections as beams, and cranked beam ends were all used in the 2008 construction.


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