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Play Zone


One of the most uplifting sights at the Dome was an elderly man dancing in front of the human kaleidoscope game in the Play Zone to create patterns. The Kaleidoscope is one of 18 interactive games inside this well visited Zone; design of the building anticipated its popularity. It can cope with 3,500 people an hour.

As content is the main focus, the building is a relatively simple structure designed to create the necessary 1,934m2 of floor space with the minimum of fuss. It is a steel frame standing 11.2m high, 42m long and 50m wide, with a space frame roof.

A suspended access ramp brings people into the Zone, introducing them to the fun of play and allowing them to view the games before bringing them down to actually take part.

The structure was designed and built by Space Decks, working with architects Land Design Studio and Buro Happold.

'The clever bit,' says Space Decks managing director Roger Howick, 'is in the cladding. Some 17 GRP snouts on two sides of the structure create their own fun but also house the projection and screen for each of the games without taking up space inside the Zone. We think the lilac snouts look like whales leaping into the building.'

To create the complex 6m long, 5m high and 4m wide composite shapes, Space Decks called in boat builder Modular Mouldings of Cornwall to help. The building went from paper to completion in just 350 days after a late decision by the Dome organisers for a retail unit to be incorporated.

Zone facts

Designer: Land Design Studio with Buro Happold

Design & build contractor: Space Decks

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