Category Archives: Civic Buildings

Crystal Bridges Museum Store / Marlon Blackwell Architect

Located in the heart of the new Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art (Moshe Safdie, 2011) in Bentonville, Arkansas, USA, the museum store is an insertion by Marlon Blackwell Architect into an existing 3,040 square foot curved concrete space.  A local competition was held to find an architect that could contribute to the overall museum experience and provide the museum with a functional and tactile museum store.  The space provided was heavily structured with concrete columns supporting a green roof above which severely dissects the space. The west-facing storefront opened on to the entry plaza, making glare and heat gain an issue.  The owner desired a store experience that was warm, natural, and tactile and understood by museum patrons as an extension of the museum experience.

Lord Norman Foster welcomes decision to grant his Sainsbury Centre Grade II* listing

One of Lord Norman Foster’s first public buildings in the United Kingdom, the Sainsbury Centre at the University of East Anglia, has received a protected status from Heritage Minister Ed Vaizey. The move was welcomed by conservation organisation English Heritage whose Designation Director, Roger Bowdler said: “We are pleased that the Sainsbury Centre at the University of East Anglia has been listed at Grade II* following our recommendation. Listing will not interfere with the centre’s continued flexible use, and the University of East Anglia has set an example over a number of years of how the listed modern buildings in its care can be sympathetically managed.” The status marks the building as ‘particularly important’ and ‘of more than special interest’.

Doctor Who lands in Cardiff

Collinson: When BBC Worldwide were looking for a new long term home for the Doctor Who Experience it was an obvious choice to bring this famous multi-sensory interactive exhibition to a new purpose-built residence in the city of Cardiff, next to the Roath Lock Studios, the BBC’s largest drama production outside of London where the show will be filmed from later this year.   

Alsecco systems used to great effect on Clapham High Street

Alsecco’s external insulation and render-only systems were both used for the Clapham One PPP (Public Private Partnership) regeneration project by architects DLA Architecture in conjunction with joint venture partners United House and Cathedral Group plc.

New Wing opens at Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy

The new wing at Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy, Fife is now open. The 500 bed extension to the existing hospital was delivered by Balfour Beatty for NHS Fife through a Public Private Partnership.

3XN behind new Project in Central Stockholm

‘Stockholm City Station’ will mark the entrance to Stockholm’s inner city center and integrates the station, a hotel and conference center along with apartments. The main idea behind the design was to create a building that gently adjusts to the area’s existing building in scale and expression, and which reinterprets a number of local Swedish design traditions.  


Sill has just provided the lighting for the new £13.5m Southend Swimming and Diving Centre, which will be the new training base for the British Olympic diving team prior to the London 2012 games.

Hoare Lea’s angle poise

With an angular, raked ceiling and further constraints imposed by the requirements of disabled access and energy efficiency, Hoare Lea has read a tricky situation well at Canada Water Library. Jill Entwistle reports

Harlequin Floors plays a leading role in £145m redevelopment for University of the Arts, London

Over 1,600m2 of Harlequin ActivityTM sprung floor system has been used to create four stunning performance spaces at the new £145 million King’s Cross Campus for the University of the Arts’ Central Saint Martin’s College of Art and Design – providing world class facilities to 5,000 students whose University alumni include actors Colin Firth, Pierce Brosnan and John Hurt.

Portsmouth City Council chooses DMS to protect deaf and hard of hearing people

Portsmouth City Council has installed DMS (Deaf Message Service), a new fire safety product that informs deaf or hard of hearing people when the fire alarm sounds, in its civic offices.

DMS gives deaf and hard of hearing people the freedom to move around public places like supermarkets, shopping centres or libraries without worry of missing an emergency situation, informing them when the fire alarm sounds. It also helps service providers and employers comply with the Equality Act.

The Library of Birmingham – a World-Class Library for the 21st Century

Qubiqa UK is proud to announce they have been chosen by the Library of Birmingham to supply the mobile, static and 2-tier shelving for what is described as ‘one of the world’s most exciting and ambitious cultural projects’.

This impressive project to supply the Electronic mobile shelving is worth between £3.1-£3.4m and the library is expected to open to the public in 2013. Qubiqa has built up a very impressive portfolio of clients in both the library and heritage sectors in the last several years including installing systems in a number of high profile new builds and refurbishments. This unrivalled track record together with the state of the art system functionality, impressed both the main contractor and client alike. The users were looking for a system that could meet and embrace the changes, both technological and physical, which will be demanded in the new library. The Qubiqa systems will be used for both the Cultural (library) and Heritage (historic archives) collections as well as having smaller systems which will be used by the public in an open access environment on different floor levels.

Qubiqa Ltd

Tel 01444 237220

Finnforest’s Kerto-Ripa – Delivering Flexible Space, Fast

Finnforest’s Kerto-Ripa panels have recently been utilised in the construction of three office units in Towcester, Northamptonshire.

The pre-fabricated engineered timber panels, which were specified by Westframe, were used to provide floor cassettes with a total of over 250m2 installed throughout the entire construction. Kerto-Ripa was selected for its exceptional structural properties, its capacity to create large open spans and its ability to facilitate a faster build program.

The project specifier, Westframe, which is part of Westleigh Developments, normally designs and manufactures timber frame housing solutions. Westframe has had a long-standing relationship with Finnforest and the Towcester project is the company’s first using Finnforest’s Kerto-Ripa.

David Thacker of Westframe comments, “We were looking for a flexible solution which would meet our requirement of achieving a long clear span. With Kerto-Ripa we were able to achieve this with a nine-metre clear span. In addition, the solution’s value engineering was a key driver in being specified for this project. Its speed of installation significantly reduces time onsite. This floor system took a matter of hours to complete, with very little risk to the installation crew or any other construction staff on site. ”

For this commercial development it was crucial for Westframe to find a way of delivering long clear spans in order to maximise the useable interior space of the buildings.
Finnforest’s Kerto-Ripa presented a sustainable solution to this challenge.

Kerto-Ripa is a structural engineered timber panel system created by Finnforest from glued Kerto members, an engineered wood product which combines natural beauty with strength that can deal with most types of structural applications. To this end the Finnforest UK team designed and engineered the floor elements that are currently manufactured in Finland, then being delivered through long-term strategic partner, Donaldson Timber Engineering.

As Kevin Riley, Vice President Construction Industry for Finnforest UK noted, “The panel is ideal for use within retail, commercial and public buildings and has two key applications – flooring and roofing. It is particularly relevant for specification in projects where long spans are required and we are seeing increased interest in the incorporation of this unique system across a range of projects in the UK”

For floors, the Kerto-Ripa panel system can create intermediate floors, with clear spans of up to ten metres with commercial office loadings and beyond in residential applications – all dependant on the specific loadings involved. Since the product is pre-fabricated, it is easy to install and can therefore help to achieve rapid construction. What’s more, the open RIPA panel can simply accommodate co-ordinated services within the floor zone, which furthermore helps speed up construction and reduce turnaround time. In cases where increased acoustic performance is required, the SoundBar System can be added to exceed building regulations. As a roof solution, Kerto-Ripa is ideal for flat or low pitch roofs where long clear spans of up to 18 metres can be achieved and has, in recent projects, been installed at a speed to allow 1000m2 of weather-protected environment in one day.

Kerto-Ripa is available as either an open, or pre-insulated closed panel construction. The product’s panellised nature provides design flexibility, which means that installation of both roofs and floors is efficient and accurate. What’s more the product is made from PEFC certified timber that carries full BM-TRADA audited Chain of Custody accreditation which means it is suitable for any development where sustainability is a key driver for specification. In addition, Kerto-Ripa delivers excellent energy performance which contributes towards BREEAM ratings.

For more information on Finnforest’s Kerto-Ripa and other engineered timber products and systems, visit