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Exhibition Building and IMAX Cinema

Link Canopy and IMAX Cinema

Glazed facade to Exhibition Building

Diagrid Structure to Exhibition building

Titanium Cladding on IMAX Cinema

Fabric Canopy to Link Building#

360° Rotating Tower

360° Rotating Tower and Exhibition Building


Glasgow Science Centre, Scotland, UK

Scotland’s largest Millennium project, the Glasgow Science Centre, on the banks of the river Clyde consists of four buildings all constructed by MERO. Built as distinctively different buildings, they all share a common theme through the use of titanium and glass cladding.

The complex ‘squashed egg’ geometry of the 3D Cinema building needed to be constructed with no internal supports to house the huge IMAX screen and enable it to be viewed from all of the 350 seats. MERO spaceframe was the perfect solution, supported on just the concrete perimeter foundations, with a raking glazed entrance façade using MERO’s 'varioclip' glazing cap system.

The exhibition building is a huge crescent shape structure that contains over 5000m² of floor space over three levels. Within the building are over 300 different exhibits, a shop and a café. Due to nature of the exhibits, the building needed to be as open plan as possible to enable these to be regularly reconfigured.

Formed from a single layer curved diagrid, cable bracing is used to further strengthen the structure and keep internal columns to a minimum. The huge sloping curtain wall incorporates vertical trusses integrated into MERO’s glazing mullions to support the double glazed panels and keep the flatness of the entire façade within acceptable limits.

The titanium cladding panels are supported on a waterproof subpanel, which in turn is fixed back to purlins that span between the nodes of the spaceframe structure of the cinema building. On the exhibition building the cladding is formed on large unitised panels that connect to the large diagrid structure.

The glazed link building between the 3D cinema and the exhibit building features a fabric roof atop a glazed enclosure. The glazing is supported on its horizontal edges using MERO’s glazing system, whilst the fabric roof is supported on a mixture of curved steel tubes and cables.

The 104m high ‘wing tower’ is unique due to its ability to automatically rotate through 360° to face into the wind. Its section is of an aerofoil, which allows the tower to withstand high wind loads with a very slender structure. At the top of the tower, a viewing cabin offers uninterrupted views across Glasgow, and during light winds the tower’s rotation can be controlled to give truly panoramic views to the passengers.

MERO constructed the tower in 12m high segments that were fully clad and finished before being lifted and bolted into place by a tower crane. Each segment’s structure was factory tested for fit to it’s adjacent segments to ensure it would fit first time on site, they were then dismantled and shipped to site for final assembly and finishing. With two teams constructing the segments on the ground, one building the structure and one cladding each segment, the tower benefited from a speedy erection.

[Download this project as a PDF document] 

_ _
Project Title:
Glasgow Science Centre
_ Scope of Works: Design, Manufacture and installation of building envelope structure and cladding to cinema, exhibit, link and tower buildings.
_ Cladding Details:

Exhibit Building / Cinema: Insulating glass units comprising 8mm toughened float outer + 12mm air gap + 2x4mm laminated float inner with a 1.52mm pvb interlayer
Exhibit Building: Titanium Shingles
IMAX Cinema: 3000m² Titanium Shingles
Link Canopy Building: 15mm thick toughened float glass, fabric roof.

_ Steelwork Details: Cinema: Galvanised MERO KK Spaceframe in rectangular / hexagonal / rectangular configuration
Exhibit Building: Steel CHS diagrid, trusses, 'V' columns painted RAL9007
Link Building: ø133 CHS painted RAL9016
_ Year of Completion: 2001
_ Contract Duration: 22 months
_ Client: Glasgow Science Centre
M_ERO UK Architect: Building Design Partnership
Richard Horden Architects (Tower Concept Architect).
_ Main Contractor: Carillion Ltd.
_ © MERO-SCHMIDLIN (UK) PLC 2006-2010

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