Glass Canopy, West Bromwich

State of the art glass frontage

Pinnacle have recently completed the New Square development, a landmark regeneration scheme in the centre of West Bromwich. The project included a 100,000ft² retail store, 32 retail units, 5 screen cinema and a decked car park with associated leisure facilities. It also entailed the relocation of a police station and school.

The new development is linked to the existing Queens Square shopping centre via a controlled climate walkway, to ensure conditions remain comfortable for its users in any weather. ‘Virtual wind tunnel’ tests were undertaken to understand behaviours of wind and temperature. At a late stage in the project, the results exposed the necessity for a glazed screen at the main entrance, to control the passage of wind along the walkway. Pinnacle were tasked with developing a design solution to a limited budget, restricted design parameters, that would perform in accordance with the requirements exposed in the test results.

Various options were considered, concluding that a vertical tubular steel ‘bow string’ arrangement to support a glass façade would perform satisfactorily and provide a visually acceptable solution. Working with Haskoll Architects and maximising the use of 3D modelling, Pinnacle developed and delivered an attractive design with optimum sized steel members, which reduced prominence behind the glass walling and minimised the use of cross bracing to enhance the feature.

Further benefits gained from 3d modelling included, an understanding of how the structure interfaced with the recently constructed retail store and units, articulating the complex, curved and staggered geometry to the steelwork and glazing sub-contractors. Further co-ordination with them through the model, identified their requirements for restraint and support members to avoid any ‘retrofit’ scenarios and a ‘right first time’ frame. It also provided a greater understanding of how the feature would look.

Combined with an ETFE (Ethylene tetrafluoroethylene) roof filled with air, provided an aesthetically pleasing and comfortable environment for shoppers to enjoy the retail experience.