Harrison Wallen

Structural Design
Proposal to redevelop the existing University of Southampton Science Park, Building 89
Alastair McDonald, Howard Clarke, Professor David Richards

The building has been designed to replace the original pre-cast concrete portal frame engineering building with an efficient use of space and accessibility routes, providing the basis for a well-functioning laboratory with future flexibility designed in.

The building’s original footprint has been lengthened to the South with an ancillary space of rectangular plan that projects out towards the site entrance. Both walls and floors are constructed from CLT panels which provide lateral stability, significant compressive resistance and a rapid construction sequence.

The structural concept consists of a glulam portal frame, pinned at the foundations, with bolted moment connections at the beam to column join. The continuous primary beams span up to 15m and cantilever out past the columns to form a sheltered storage area on the East side of the building and a terrace to the West. The portal frame beams run in pairs along gridlines, sandwiching the column supports to form double shear connections and increased strength in both axes.

In plane lateral stability is provided through each portal frame with the CLT wall panels acting as shear walls to provide out of plane racking resistance. CLT roof panels act as diaphragms between the two portal frame bays at each end of the building to transfer lateral loads to the CLT shear walls below. Discontinuous CLT roof panels provide restraint to each portal frame beam as well as forming a zone for services to run between over the full length of the building.

Constraints on site arising from a protected avenue of Lime trees resulted in the re-use of existing foundations to support the primary columns through steel stub sections. This mitigates the risk of damage to roots and reduces construction costs. The storage areas have been situated in such a way that they are easily accessible by delivery vehicles whilst the cantilever roof removes the need for columns and therefore removes the risk of accidental damage to integral structures.

All areas of the existing building have been improved in the design proposal, from storage facilities to the ancillary space, without impact to its functionality. The structure is not only efficient but resistant to hazards such as accidental vehicle impacts, internal vehicle movements, and corrosion.