Cutty Sark Visitor Centre, UK

This unique enclosure provides a visitor information centre, for the temporary period during the ship’s refurbishment. All structural elements are to be removed from site at the end of this period to reinstate public right of way and allow access for statutory services.

The enclosure covers approximately 300m2 with maximum height of 8m and was designed, manufactured and erected within a very restricted timescale. The outer conical PVC form is supported internally off an arrangement of flying masts with each mast supported by radial cables back to a 3d hexagonal timber frame. The timber structure is constructed as a pin end strut, connected by cast metal nodes to provide the required load transfer and accommodate the complex 3d geometry.

The structural timbers are stabilised internally by a network of tie bracing cables, providing a triangulated system both on plan and elevation.

The foundations are formed from a reinforced concrete slab cast over the existing pavement providing vertical and lateral support to the structure. Any potential uplift forces are resisted by the slab self weight. The slab also forms the finished floor service for the exhibition area. The relatively flexible nature of the timber/membrane envelope above, means it can accommodate substantial levels of differential movements at the supports.