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KEEPING A BRAVE FACE

An innovative faþade retention system is being used by contractor Skanska in London as it performs a £13M conversion of a historic Regent Street cinema into a modern cinema and retail complex. To minimise encroachment on the building's exterior and the busy public pavement, the original 1920 Grade II listed stonework faþade of the Plaza Cinema is supported using a single steel tower underneath the building's retained dome. Radiating beams retain the curved faþade beneath the dome, and steel trusses up to 30m long span from the tower to each wall. Demolition began this autumn, and project completion is scheduled for summer 2004.

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