Locale : Global (English)
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View of the striking RAB development from outside internal view showing competitors taking part Inside the open top shooting venue Aerial view of overall temporary structure complex

London 2012 shooting events venue

We were the lead consultant responsible for architecture, engineering, ballistics, acoustics and planning consultancy services for three eye-catching temporary structures for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games shooting events held at the Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich. Our specialists provided civil, structural, acoustics and building services engineering.

external front elevation of one of the three completed temporary structures
London 2012 shooting events venue, Royal Artillery Barracks
London 2012 shooting events venue, Royal Artillery Barracks We developed a striking concept with our design partner Magma Architecture that drew on the military heritage of the barracks by envisaging the buildings as bivouac tents and translating the idea into three fully demountable modular structures covered in tensioned fabric, punctured with colourful apertures that mimicked bullet holes.
Image credit Diehl/ODA

We resolved the challenge of providing high quality but cost-effective temporary venue for Olympic shooting events with an ultra-efficient, fully demountable and reusable structural solution. The three buildings at the Royal Artillery Barracks, Woolwich, south east London, broke new ground for sporting venues. The 50m qualifying range, 25m qualifying range and the finals range were constructed using modular steel frames clad with 100% recyclable PVC inner and outer skins. Marrying architectural form with engineering function, steel rings mounted on the structural frame tensioned tension the façade while creating openings for spectator access and ventilation.

Kit of parts construction

The structures needed to be easily demounted and transported after the Olympic and Paralympic Games. We created a design based on a modular structural frame built up from standardised steel trusses that are widely available for hire. This approach not only used existing components that had already been used around the world in other temporary venues, but also ensured there would be a re-use of the range components after the Games. Only the fabric cladding, tensioning rings and connection pieces needed to be specifically manufactured, stored and transported.

Honing design using BIM

We used building information modelling (BIM) right from concept stage to create a central, real-time information point that incorporated input from our diverse team, including multiple Mott MacDonald design disciplines, a specialist fabric contractor, temporary frame builder, structural supplier and ballistics expert. Our engineering contribution covered civil, structural, mechanical, electrical, public health, facade, communications and drainage design.

The shared BIM model was used for simulation and analysis of the buildings' tensioned fabric skin, lighting and internal climate, including scrutiny of the design for shadows and air movement that could affect the competitors' performance. It was also used to produce detailed structural drawings, to take off quantities for cost estimating and to define the construction and assembly sequence.

Marrying sustainability and sporting excellence

By placing ring openings at low and high levels we promoted natural buoyancy ventilation, while the void between the inner and outer fabric cladding provided insulation. The translucency of the PVC cladding minimised the need for artificial illumination in spectator areas. These factors reduced operational energy demand and resultant carbon emissions. We placed a small grille above each competitor position to exploit the buoyancy effect to draw away the puffs of smoke emitted when guns are fired.

Foundations and drainage that leave no trace

The venue had to leave no permanent trace at the historic Royal Artillery Barracks site. The buildings were founded on recycled steel pipe piles that were extracted and reused after the Games. For drainage, we used recyclable PVC manholes linked to soakaway crates, which meant no additional rainwater drainage load was placed on the local sewerage system. Manholes and crates were removed after the Games.

Other parties

  • Architecture – Magma (shooting ranges and enclosures) and Pattern Architects (archery)
  • Ballistics expert – Entec
  • Principal contractor – John Sisk & Sons
  • Temporary structures contractor – E S Global
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