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Glazed expression

SITE REPORT

DESPITE all the rigmarole associated with securing planning permission for the new roof at whitecity, the resulting structure will be well worth Westfield's efforts.

The organically shaped glass roof curves over a football-pitch-sized area of the centre with the intention of letting in as much light as possible.

Multiplex is currently in the process of letting the contract to build the complex roof, with Austrian specialists Waagner Biro in the frame. The firm, which also worked on the 30 St Mary Axe tower and Sage music centre in Gateshead, may bring its experience from a similar project to whitecity.

'It's very similar to the way Waagner Biro constructed the roof over the Grand Court at the British Museum, ' says Mr Lockett. 'You have square hollow section steel that is joined together at nodes. Each node is different and when linked up together they form sections of the roof called 'ladders'. These are as large as you can get on the back of a lorry, about 12 m by 4 m, ' says Mr Lockett.

Once delivered to site each ladder is then craned into posit ion on a massive scaffold that will sh roud much of the development. The ladders will then be welded together to form spans of up to 24 m by 24 m, allowing glazing to be fitted.

The scaffolding will be de-propped slowly as the roof settles with the increased weight of the ladders.