Winner 2010

Award for
Community or Residential Structures

Project Description

Hull History Centre is a new two-storey building containing the archives of the City of Hull. The archives are stored on the first floor, and the ground floor provides public spaces – reading rooms, exhibition spaces, and lecture theatres. The entrance is through a public arcade and winter garden, which runs the full length of the building. Structurally the building consists of two very different forms – a plane two-storey concrete frame, and a two-storey high atrium formed of ETFE panels supported on curved Glulam ribs. The concrete frame has to support the heavy weight of the archives in rolling stacks, so the columns supporting the flat slabs are relatively closely spaced to control the deflections The soffits of the slabs are exposed to provide their part of the thermal flywheel and are meticulously detailed with shutter panels organised and joints exposed. The entrance arcade is a series of ETFE cushions supported on two-storey high curved Glulam ribs, elegantly fixed to steel shoes at top and bottom and laterally restrained by a small steel purlin at mid-height. Glulam ribs at the eaves take the tension forces from the cushions. These ribs are singly curved, and set at about normal to the roof slope, creating a continuous ripple of the eaves in plan and elevation, which nicely relates to the soft curves of the cushions. This is a very carefully considered and well detailed example of exposed structure, expressing the different functions of the parts of the building. The result has delighted the people of Hull, who have visited in large numbers.

Judge’s comments

"An arcade of ETFE cushions on curved Glulam ribs provides a sinuous welcoming entrance to Hull’s new archives."

Project overview

Client Name

  • Hull City Council, University of Hull

Year Submitted

  • 2010