SPORT & LEISURE:
XSCAPE – MILTON KEYNES & CASTLEFORD
Xscape, Milton Keynes is the ultimate entertainment destination offering a unique combination of extreme sports and leisure activities, it boasts country’s biggest indoor REAL snow slopes, Europe’s first purpose-built body flying tunnel! , rock climbing walls, bowling, multiplex cinema, gym and a fitness centre, numerous bars and restaurants and urban retail outlets all under one roof.
Atom Consultants were commissioned by steel fabricators Severfield plc. to design the structural steel frame for this Faulkner Browns Architects designed superstructure aimed to resemble an icy-blue, snow-capped mountain. 400 tonnes of structural steelwork was required to be erected each week by the principal contractor Sir Robert McAlpine.
The simple and distinctive geometric shape, which provides an envelope around the building takes a form of a slice cut off a cylinder at an angle of 9.6 degrees. The main feature inside the building is a real snow ski slope, perched high above the cinema, and draping down at 10 and 15 degree angles towards the ground floor. The shape of the building and the layout of the facilities inside meant that there was very little repetition in the element being designed.
Each of the cinemas required large uninterrupted spaces, hence a regular column grid could not be maintained throughout the building, and required large transfer beams and trusses to take up loading from the roof, ski slope and cinema lids to a regular 7.5 m grid within the shopping mall area. The complexity of the project exhibited itself in the set up of the structural members (well over 10,000 in total) and the choice of the section sizes. BIM was used throughout the project, and ultimately 30% reduction in tender estimate of the steel tonnage was achieved (out of a total of 5,000!), making this project an echelon of an efficient design, proving to be very cost-effective for the client Capital & Regional.
Xscape Castleford in West Yorkshire near Leeds, is the second generation of Xscape developments, establishing the brand as a firm destination for extreme sports and niche-market retail expereince. This 36,000m2 scheme, with a 38m tall front façade houses an large atrium to house various retail and eating establishments, an of course the all- important 170m long real snow ski slope. Atom Consultants played an integral part in the design of the structure for Xscape Castleford working alongside the contractor Shepherd (now Wates) for the steel fabricator Billington Structures.
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