World Trade Center Steel - Imperial War Museum North

World Trade Centre Steel - close-up

An inspiring project involving close co-ordination with client, specialist steel fabricator and our Chester Structural Engineering department. The project ranged from basic structural mechanics to complex logistical manoeuvres on the Museum Exhibition floor. 

Brief

The Imperial War Museum North acquired for their main exhibition area, a 2 tonne 7.5m long section of the main supporting structural steel that formed part of the north tower of the World Trade Center, destroyed in the 9/11 attacks. The Museum reached agreement with the American authorities to exhibit the steel in the Museum and our brief was to specify and design a suitable support system together with advice on physically moving the steel into the congested Museum exhibition floor area. 

Challenges + Opportunities

The steel was originally fabricated for the typical system build approach to skyscrapers in America. The steel in its present form was twisted and buckled out of shape due to the extreme temperatures and subsequent collapse. The challenge was to get the steel as vertical as possible utilising a stainless steel frame arrangement to support the metalwork. Initially, after gaining permission, a small section was cut-off, which is now exhibited in the Imperial War Museum in London.

The remaining approximate 7.5m long section was then lifted by crane using slings in various position to determine the centre of gravity. This point in space is now set below the top of the support system, so the exhibit effectively leans against the frame, with minimal fixing.

Close up of steel

The supporting frame was all purpose designed with specialist steel fabricators. The other main challenge was, after all the initial investigations and design were completed and the new frame fabricated and installed in the exhibition area, actually moving the exhibit into place through the congested floor area. The pinch point was between the main doors and a Russian T34 tank, this took almost two hours of precise movements with minimal clearances. 

Strategy

The original concept in the exhibition space was to lay the exhibit flat on the floor, our view after investigations was to propose that the steel be erected as close to vertical as possible, to give visitors as much more profound vision of what happened on 9/11.

The Museum accepted the proposal and the exhibit has continued to attract widespread attention from visitors. 

Services

The Chester Civil and Structural Engineering division of the practice was instructed to provide a detailed investigation into the steel followed by the design of a supporting framework. On-site supervision was also provided during the actual museum installation phase. 

 

  • Project Type : Special Structure
  • Project Status : Complete
  • Start / End : 2011
  • Contractor : Dales, Manchester 
  • Last Updated : 13th December 2016

 

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