The Structural Engineer > Archive > Volume 84 (2006) > Issues > Issue 20 > Rowen Travel Award 2005 paper: The design and procurement of movable structures
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Rowen Travel Award 2005 paper: The design and procurement of movable structures

John Lyle was awarded the 2005 Rowen Travel Award by the IStructE Educational?Trust to research movable structures around the world. The award provided an opportunity to review overseas experience in developing and procuring movable structures. Structures that transform or retract are becoming increasingly common. The popularity of developing structures that move has partially been driven by the need to increase the flexibility of buildings or to enhance the appeal of structures. Computerised control systems also have greatly contributed to the development of this class of structure. In the past few years in the UK we have seen the completion of a number of significant movable structures such as the London Eye, the Falkirk Wheel and the Glasgow Science Tower, while ongoing projects include the retractable roofs for Wembley Stadium and Wimbledon’s centre court. Current evidence suggests the trend for movable structures is likely to be sustained by the economic pressures to provide greater flexibility of building usage. This research looks beyond the UK to review current design, procurement and installation practices found elsewhere in the world. While the principal centres for movable structures technology (outside of the UK) have been the US and Japan, there are many other parts of the world where the technology has created novel solutions for retractable grandstands (at the Telstra Stadium, Sydney) and retractable fabric roofs (Amsterdam Stadium). This paper is the result of seeing first hand a number of movable structures around the world and having discussions about their procurement with the designers, contractors and operators involved. John Lyle, BSc, CEng, MIMechE, ACIArb Ove Arup & Partners