Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Work and Learn Zone


On entering the main entrance to the Dome, the visitor's eye is immediately drawn to the outer walls of the Work & Learn Zone.

Clad in rotating slats like vast advertising boards, the walls mutate through three images showing the transformation of trees into books. 6m high triptych boards act as pieces in an ever-changing jigsaw puzzle.

However, the cladding hides what is in fact a simple 12m high, two storey steel frame structure, with composite steel and concrete floors. During construction, this less-than-cutting-edge design did not go unnoticed by other Zone developers.

'We were the subject of some good-natured ridicule,' says Buro Happold project engineer Andrew Best, who oversaw construction of the bulk of the structure in eight weeks. 'However, everyone agreed that we came up with an impressive end product.'

As the Work & Learn Zone's 200t of structural steelwork sprang up during July 1999 however, other Zone developers must have cursed their own more challenging designs. Partly due to the design simplicity, Buro Happold encountered few problems other than incorporating previously situated service trenches and piles into its plans.

Zone facts

Sponsors: Work - Manpower

Learn - Tesco

Architect: Alford Hall Monaghan Morris

Structural engineer: Buro Happold

M&E engineer: Atelier Ten

Main contractor: McAlpine Laing Joint Venture

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Please note comments made online may also be published in the print edition of New Civil Engineer. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.