What inspired your design concept?
Stunning architecture has become a trademark of the modern Olympic and Paralympic Games, with environmental credentials being of paramount importance.
As such the three shooting range structures are not only at the forefront of contemporary design, they are also fully demountable and relocatable, amply fulfilling these criteria. Together they hosted the Shooting, Paralympic Shooting and Paralympic Archery events. The set consists of the 25 meter, Combined 50 & 100 meter and the Finals Shooting Ranges.
What challenges did you face along the way?
Base Structures were responsible for the detail design, manufacture and installation of the bespoke tensile fabric membrane for all three Shooting Ranges. The Shooting Ranges needed to be fully demountable to enable them to be transported and reused after the London 2012 Games. Since they were located in the historic Royal Artillery Barracks site in Woolwich, East London, it was of paramount importance that the structures left no permanent trace – even the foundation piles made from recycled steel pipe were removed after the Games to be re-used elsewhere.
Although it was decided to use PVC fabric due to its strength, light-weight and malleability, not to mention its cost effectiveness compared to PTFE and ETFE, due to the environmental restrictions on the London 2012 sites it became necessary to source a phthalate-free PVC.
This was developed and produced by fabric manufacturer Serge Ferrari in time for the construction of the Shooting Ranges, specified to adhere to the strict environmental policy of the London 2012 site. The bright colours for the discs which act as tensioners for the undulating fabric membrane were printed onto the PVC fabric using UV inkjet technology, an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional solvent print.
How did it feel to be involved in such a large and important British Project?
It was an honour to see our hard work and expertise on a world stage and it makes me very proud to be British and of Base for playing our part in this national celebration.
What about specific design challenges?
Since it was important to demount and transport the structures, a modular frame was created by ES Global that used standard steel box trusses that had been previously fabricated. It was in this manner that it was possible to ensure ease of build, take down and re-use with over 80% of the buildings using existing rental stock.
For the entire build only the fabric, tensioning rings and connection pieces needed to be specially manufactured, resulting in significant environmental and financial savings. Base Structures Ltd completed the detail fabric design, membrane manufacture and membrane installation. During the installation of the 50m/100m Combined Range an unusual quad tracking lift, simultaneously using four cranes, was required to lift the enormous fabric membrane into position.