Battersea Arts Centre


When a fire broke out in Battersea Arts Centre, in the final stages of its massive £13.3 million renovation, no one could have predicted that just over 2 years later it would be opening its doors again to the public. The huge blaze wrecked the Grade II Listed Grand Hall but miraculously stopped at its inner doors leaving the remaining two-thirds of the building unscathed.

All of us at TDS are very proud to have been part of the team that helped to restore this incredible arts centre and theatre. We were commissioned to model fabrication drawings for the approval and manufacture of, among other aspects, the new steel roof trusses that would support the new roof and tower of the Grand Hall.

In order to replicate an arc similar to that of the destroyed structure, the roof trusses we produced were rolled to an elliptical shape, from 42 tonnes of parallel flanged channel, with multi-layers of plate forming the lower structure. Each of these trusses required multiple splice points in order to make sections small enough to be transportable through busy London streets and erected on a restricted site. To save on their overall weight, we arrived at a solution of modelling the trusses’ lower portions from laser profile 8mm THK plates that were welded into shaped hollow sections with additional 8mm plate stiffeners for support.

As the remains of the Grand Hall were just a fire-damaged shell, using Tekla was particularly useful as we were able to input the survey data of the exiting walls and, crucially, the padstone locations for the new trusses. With this 3D operation we were able to ascertain that many of the padstones had been too damaged to support the whole truss base and would require replacement. With the laser cut elliptical profile plate sections, using Tekla as a 3D tool and working in conjunction with the fabrication team, we were able to eliminate many fabrication problems and produce a welding and fabrication plan with no loss of downtime on the shop floor.

This project has been a wonderful example of how our team’s talents, combined with their expertise in state-of-the-art technology, can solve even the most demanding of problems. And the result is a historic building restored to its former glory. Bravo to that!

Imagery: Battersea Arts Centre