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Projects of the decade: MOTT MACDONALD

Mott MacDonald have embraced both sport and culture for the Darwin Centre project at the Natural History Museum and the Mbomela Stadium in South Africa.

Darwin Centre Phase 2, Natural History Museum, London

Project description

State-of-the-art archive facilities, laboratories and exhibition space, meeting the storage, scientific and education needs of the world’s foremost botanical and entomological research organisation. Integration of museum and science functions within a single building gives unprecedented public access and insight to the Natural History Museum’s unique collection and work.

Challenges

■ Protecting a large and unique natural history collection against climate and pest degradation by creating a carefully specified and stable climate.
■ Finding the right climate conditions to meet diverse needs - species storage, scientist comfort and pest control. As a result, temperature is held at a steady 17C and humidity at 45%.
■ Minimising energy consumption and carbon emissions. Solutions include maximising the thermal mass of the concrete cocoon, which is buffered from external temperatures by a glazed atrium space.
■ Heating and cooling is provided by the museum’s existing boilers and chillers and a humidification system that requires no energy input. Total energy recovery wheels recoup 75% of all thermal energy and intelligent lighting responds to building use whilst optimising natural light.

Start/finish

June 2006 - September 2009

Cost

£78M

Mott MacDonald’s role

Fulcrum - now part of the Mott MacDonald Group - provided building services, building envelope (Part L), lighting design, sustainability advice and lift design.

Other parties

■ Architect CF Möller
■ Structural engineer Arup
■ Contractor HBG

Mbombela Stadium, South Africa

Mbombela Stadium, South Africa

Project description

One of seven new stadia built for the 2010 World Cup. The lightweight roof sets international structural efficiency standards. Highly successful modular design developed for speed, safety and predictability of construction.

Challenges

The client had a limited budget and an immovable deadline, making cost control and buildability the key issues. Costs were pared back by cutting the weight of structural steel to 55kg/m2 − less than half that of a conventional steel truss design. This was achieved through pioneering use of 3D computer modelling and analysis, and an innovative solution to the damping of wind-induced dynamic movement. Modular construction was adopted to minimise complicated crane lifts and working at height.

Mott MacDonald’s role

Structural design of the cable stayed roof and dynamic performance analysis of the stadium bowl.

Cost

£66M

Other parties

Lead engineer Goba
■ Architect R+L
■ Contractor Basil Read/ Bouygues joint venture

Start/finish

February 2007 - October 2009

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