Constructionarium Ltd is a not-for-profit organisation providing an innovative and ‘hands-on’ construction experience for students and professionals in the built environment sector. Since 2003 over 12,000 delegates have attended Constructionarium to work in teams over six days to build one of their carefully designed projects. Each project is a scaled down replica of an iconic structure from around the world which mirrors the challenges of life on site and enables students to apply the knowledge they have gained in a practical, safe and relevant environment.
One of these various scaled –down iconic structures is London’s renowned Gherkin, and Caunton Engineering were invited to supply the steelwork framing this model. Caunton originally fabricated the steelwork for the Constructionarium “Mini-Gherkin” in 2007, based on a structural design by Expedition Engineering. This iconic structure of London’s skyline is replicated in a three storey, 12 metre tall version using prefabricated steel elements which tie into a precast floor. This is located at the Constructionarium Bircham Newton, Norfolk site. The aim for the new Mini Gherkin II is to reduce the fabrication time and increase repetition, and also make it safer and quicker for site operatives to erect the steelwork. This the Caunton technical team have been commissioned to do. For example, the frame was designed without a positive fixing to the ground slab. This permits the client to erect this structure in various different places without the need to cast holding down bolts. Instead the structure is erected off a ground beam. This enables the steelwork for the model to be fully mobile, and available for not only the newly opened Constructionarium establishment in Southall, but also the premises of interested clients.
The steelwork for both the original and the Mark II Gherkin was fabricated by Caunton’s Apprentices in the company’s accredited Academy, emphasising further the educational benefits of this enterprising scheme. The photographs show the steelwork for the original Gherkin at the Bircham Newton site and the new Gherkin Mark II both being erected and complete in Caunton’s Works car park.