The design and construction of First Light Pavilion at Jodrell Bank would not have been possibleif it wasn’t for innovation. The concept for this project involved the first concrete dome constructedin the UK for over 25 years, built on site near the Lovell telescope at Jodrell Bank. Thecircumference of the dome is built to exactly match that of the Lovell telescope itself and a standardconcrete frame would not be able to withstand a structure of that scale, complexity and weight. Bybringing together a team of experts in concrete construction and structural engineering, we wereable to carefully engineer a creative solution that would require one continuous concrete pour; arisky and challenging method which took 10 hours 15 minutes, 59 operatives and 55 wagons ofconcrete to successfully achieve. This is only one of several innovative solutions used on thisexciting project, which we believe makes it highly deserving of the 2021 NWRCA InnovationAward.
First Light Pavilion was littered with challenges; from the vision for a circular 8,000 sq ft grasscovered, 7 meter high concrete dome with the complexities of its respective structural load capacityto the internal requirements for a 2,300 sq ft auditorium space with a bespoke curved screen tomatch the curve of the dome, all built on a UNESCO Heritage site during a pandemic.
There isnothing standard about this project and as such, it required an experienced team with expertknowledge who would be capable of creating the innovative solutions required to meet the Client’sbrief.
Further challenges and solutions included:
• Ensuring the structural integrity of the dome bycreating a prototype within a factory environment, in order to test and analyse the best solutions inadvance of the build
• As a specific design feature, the dome had to match the circumference of theLovell telescope itself exactly, at 8,000 sq ft
• A continuous concrete pour of the biggest dome builtin the UK in over 25 years; taking over 10 hours, with 59 operatives and 55 wagons of concrete •Working with the Forestry Commission and ecologists to devise a solution to retain all soil materialon site to prevent the spread of an aggressive fungus which infects juniper trees • The logistics ofworking on such a complex build with many operatives involved during the COVID-19 pandemicDespite these complex challenges, the project build was a success and will be open to the public in 2022.