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Ian Liddell, Buro Happold

Twin towers

NCE's challenge to save Wembley's twin towers reminded Millennium Dome designer Ian Liddell of Domenico Fontana's winning proposal to move the Vatican obelisk in 1590.

'He at least had a decent budget as the Pope allowed him to use all the available timber in Rome,' says Liddell.

He says only the top parts of the towers need retaining. These could be underpinned and independently supported before the stadium is demolished. They could then be re-supported on steel framed towers, which could then be slid out using skates or grease pads on a prepared track. Once at their final location they could be jacked to be visible above the new stadium.

Raising the towers could be probably done by strand jacking in 5m lifts from special frames located outside the new steel towers. The frames would be braced to resist lateral loads and the towers would be connected laterally to them via rollers. After each lift a new level of steel substructure would be installed underneath before the concrete tower top is lowered onto the supports ahead of the next lift.

The resulting tower would be 50m or 60m above the base of the original tower tops and 15m square.

'This could provide space for viewing galleries, bar/restaurants, hospitality suites, Wembley museum and other such activities which would generate an income stream,' Liddell claims.

He estimates that the steelwork for the tower and the moving operation would cost £1M -£1.5M per tower.

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