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Star attractions - Construction Tower

Towering ambition

Emap Construct's lottery project, the Construction Tower, has been undergoing technical and manufacturing tests following the competition run during 1997. Engineer Dewhurst Macfarlane and architect Sutherland Hussey have modified the winning design in consultation with glass manufacturer Saint Gobain, and lightning and loading tests have been undertaken by Glasgow University and the City University Engineering Laboratories. The 100 ft tower - intended to celebrate the achievements of the construction industry - was originally to be located immediately outside the main entrance to the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham. Likely future expansion plans by the NEC have necessitated a change of site, but it will still be at the NEC.

The intention now is to build the tower in time for the Interbuild exhibition in November 1999. It is also intended to submit the project as a 'Millennium Product' under the programme now being run by the Design Council. Technical investigations into the structure have included whether it is possible to manufacture glass to a flatness which would make gluing of 500 separate glass discs unnecessary, and the performance of the structure under extreme conditions.

The majority of the funding for the tower has now been secured - including an Arts Council grant of £170,000 - but there are still opportunities for companies to sponsor its construction. Would-be sponsors can view a model of the tower (pictured) on the Civils & Pipelines Sales Stand (No 1145). Details of sponsorship - all sponsors will be acknowledged at the Construction Tower site and in related publicity - should phone 0171 505 6666.

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