Zaha Hadid’s ‘Stingray’ roof makes waves

Author: By Jerome Taylor

Designed by the Iraqi-born British architect Zaha Hadid ? who for much of her
career had a reputation for creating astonishing building designs that
frequently won competitions but often never made it off the drawing board ?
the centre will be the first building that visitors to the Olympic Park in
east London will encounter. It may also end up being the architectural
centrepiece of the event, according to critics.

But building the centre is no mean feat and yesterday’s completion of the roof
was hailed by Olympics chiefs as the most structurally complicated part of
the Games. Construction work on the centre began two months ahead of
schedule in March this year and has almost entirely revolved around getting
the roof into place.

Despite its weight, the wave-like roof is supported at only three points: by
two concrete pillars at the north end and a 5m-thick concrete wall at the
southern end. Before placing the roof, structural engineers had to lift a
70-ton steel truss on to the wall and connect that to a series of 10 further
trusses that stretch to the two pillars.

The trusses were assembled on site at a height of 20m using steel scaffolding
to make it easier to lift the roof on to its joints on the concrete
supports. After removing the scaffolding, engineers let the roof slide a
final 20cm on to its joints on the southern wall, which will allow the
building to stretch, twist and contract with the weather.

Building a reputation

Zaha Hadid designs that have been built…

Maxxi Museum, Rome, Italy ? completed 2009

J S Bach Pavilion, Manchester, UK ? completed 2009

Phaeno Science Centre, Wolfsberg, Germany ? completed 2005

BMW Central Building, Leipzig, Germany ? completed 2005

Bergisel Ski Jump, Bergisel, Austria ? completed 2002

Rosthenhall Centre for Comtemporary Art, Cincinatti, USA ? completed 1998

Vitra Fire Station, Weil am Rhein, Germany ? completed 1994

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