Buro Happold is due to celebrate its second high profile cultural project in as many months with the opening of the Museum of Liverpool project tomorrow.
Buro Happold acted as lead engineer for the eagerly anticipated opening with a remit including structural engineering, building services and fire safety engineering.
The building is an example of contemporary Scandinavian design and Buro Happold said it hopes the structure will be seen as an endorsement of the value of integrated structural and environmental engineering systems.
The project was won by 3XN Architects and Buro Happold in a competitive tender in the autumn of 2004, and construction commenced in 2006 on site. The building shell and core was successfully handed over – on time and budget – in January 2010.
With large 10m high gallery spaces, 9m cantilevers and over 8,000m² of exhibition space, the project has presented complex engineering challenges.
The Mersey Railway Tunnel passes directly below the site and the Queensway road tunnel passes under the River Mersey approximately 100m north of the site, providing additional site challenges.
Buro Happold director and lead engineer on the Museum of Liverpool project Rod Manson said: “Coming off the back of the opening of the Riverside Museum in Glasgow last month for which we were also lead engineer, the opening of the Museum of Liverpool symbolises two powerful additions to our growing portfolio of big ticket cultural projects.
“Engineering the largest newly created museum in the UK for over 100 years carried with it tremendous responsibility.
“The integration of the architecture and engineering has provided both challenges and opportunities for the engineering designer, requiring an efficient and elegant design that can be maintained in an accessible manner.
“Utilising cell form type beams within the main gallery spaces has allowed large spans to be created neatly threading the building services systems within the openings within the beams.
“Harnessing a combined heating and power (CHP) system designed by EnerG has provided the opportunity to incorporate a sustainable energy source, balanced seasonally to meet the power, heating and cooling loads in the building.
“The project was ideally suited to the CHP application process, given the energy demands and planned usage, and hopefully can provide a demonstration project in the future.”