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Southern exposure

ICE news

The £11M Intech Centre is an innovative structure itself, newly completed for the Hampshire Technology Centre Trust educational charity.

The trust was set up to provide a resource for local schools and to provide a form of inspiration for budding engineers and industrialists.

The Intech Centre building has been designed to inspire future engineers.

The main part of the centre is formed from a two storey square concrete building with a steel pyramidal roof. With the site cut into a chalk hillside and the structure landscaped up to first floor level, the external impression is that of a pyramid sat on the sloping landscape.

Detailed design was carried out by consultant Gifford & Partners to a very unusual brief specified by Hampshire County Council.

In keeping with the building's educational role, the council requested a building that shows as much as possible how structures work by leaving services and many structural members exposed.

'Concrete buttresses show partially how the roof is supported, but it is in the design of the internal roof structure that we have been able to apply some innovation and show how buildings work, ' says Gifford director Gary Wood.

'All the structural members have been left exposed. Large steel hip trusses originally proposed have been removed and instead post-tensioned ties have been used to stress the roof against wind loading. The intent has been to give the impression of four triangular plates leaning on one another.

'It can be seen how the roof fits together and there is a clear hierarchy of structural members. It's not easy to use an apparently static structure to demonstrate how buildings work, ' continued Wood. 'But we would like to take this further by installing a model inside the centre to show how the forces work when different loadings are applied.'

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