Banner
Aluminum

History at the helm

By Nick Wright

Novelis supplies aluminum for paneling of new Titanic exhibition center

December 2011 - Rising from the birthplace of the RMS Titanic in Belfast, Northern Ireland, is an aluminum-clad commemoration to the famed vessel that sank in the Atlantic Ocean in 1912. Although Titanic Belfast is slated to open March 31, 2012, marking 100 years to the day after the Titanic’s completion, crews are putting finishing touches on the 150,700-square-foot exhibition center, which anchors the waterfront redevelopment of Belfast’s Titanic Quarter.

Titanic Belfast is built on the site of the original slipway, plating works and plating yard where 1-inch-thick steel plates were bent, drilled and stored prior to being assembled on the Titanic’s hull, says Eric Kuhne, founder of CivicArts/Eric Kuhne & Associates, London, the concept and design architecture firm behind the project. Belfast-based Todd Architects acted as executive architects.

Although the original Titanic was constructed from steel, the 3,000 3-D aluminum panels covering the facade reflect “four inspirations for the architecture: water crystals, ice, ship cribbage and the ship hulls themselves,” says Kuhne. The building’s design borrows from the blueprint of the Titanic, with four 93-foot-tall, prow-shaped sections that appear arranged in a diamond or star shape if viewed from above. White Star Line’s logo also inspired the design as a tribute to the company that owned the Titanic.

aluminum-titanic121911-lead2

“The permanence of aluminum ensures that the building will age gracefully with the phenomenal durability of aluminum against salt-spray from the [River] Lagan and Belfast Harbor and climate of Northern Ireland,” says Kuhne. He points out the building’s four wings represent the four ages of shipbuilding in Belfast: timber, iron, steel and aluminum.

Novelis Aluminum, Atlanta, supplied 120 tons of J57S rolled, anodizing quality aluminum sheet, which was produced at the company’s Nachsterstedt, Germany plant, says Joan Chesney, director of communications for Novelis Europe.

“Quality, cost effectiveness, exceptional protection and strength are all key reasons for using aluminium in construction projects,” Chesney says. “This light metal is also easy to work and features a brilliant metallic appearance—two features that make it ideal for a whole range of customized and modern design possibilities in facade cladding.”

EDM Spanwall, Belfast, Northern Ireland, fabricated the 3-millimeter-thick sheet into panels. EDM Spanwall created 10 geometric panel shapes resulting in an undulating, asymmetric effect, further accented by surrounding reflecting ponds, shadows created during daylight and flood lights at night. The panels’ intricate tucks, folds and angles echo the folding of metal plates in shipbuilding. The aluminum “is also durable and has excellent green credentials since it can be recycled with ease,” Chesney adds.

Behind the hull
From the building’s construction to the artifacts exhibited within, no detail went overlooked. No actual pieces of the Titanic are incorporated in the construction, rather architectural replicas for public viewing. Among other recreated elements, Kuhne says a full-size replica of a 7-meter-wide section of the Titanic’s hull will be put in the atrium to “dramatically illustrate the design, engineering and craftsmanship of the hull built here,” he says.

According to an EDM Spanwall press release, the company manufactured a wave-like, rusted steel panel system for the walls and ceiling—another throwback to the shipbuilding roots of Belfast.

Kuhne says the design team worked with Dr. Robert Ballard, the University of Rhode Island professor credited with discovering the Titanic’s wreckage in 1985, to evoke the ship’s historical nuances inside and out. “Dr. Ballard’s staggering photography inspired the astonishing character, the eerie reverie and the sheer scale of the Titanic both before and after the sinking,” Kuhne says. “Talking with him was an exchange of ideas, research and insight that supported the finishes, details and spirit of the building’s exterior and interior.”

Aluminum has no historical reflection with regard to the original Titanic’s construction, says Chesney. However, the design of the facade using anodized J57S brings “a modern dimension to the 100-year-old story.”

The metalworking methods, on the other hand, have evolved along with the advent of aluminum’s versatility for many applications. “The advances in aluminum milling, folding, plating and assembly have transformed the shipbuilding industry as much as Titanic Belfast will transform these hallowed shipyards,” Kuhne says. MM

Current Issue

MM-Cover-10-14-current

October 2014

ON THE COVER: 
Gearing up for 2015
Tackling foreign policies, regulations, trade balances and capital plans, here are forecasts for virtually everything.

MM-Digital-button-current1

Subscribe: PRINT/DIGITAL MAGAZINE - eNEWSLETTERS

Midwest-MM-home-ad-5

Advertisement

Modern Metals on Twitter

White Papers

More White Papers >
Banner

Industry Partners

Alloy Bar Products

Custom Rubber Products

Metals Distribution

Service Centers

Sierra Alloys Royal Rubber Co. ThyssenKruppnMaterials NA Heidtman Steel Products

Aluminum

Cutting Software

Perforated & Expanded Metal

North American Steel Alliance
Channel Alloys SigmaTEK Systems McNichols Co. Reliance Steel & Aluminum Company

Bar

Cutting Systems

Plasma Technology

Thickness Gauges

Gerdau Messer Cutting Systems, Inc. ESAB Welding & Cutting Products Compusource Corporation

Bevelers

Drilling

Plate

Enmark Systems, Inc.
Steelmax Hougen Manufacturing, Inc. Allor Manufacturing Inc.

Stainless Steel

CNC Cutting (Plasma, Waterjet, Laser, Router)

Financial Services

Artco Group Stainless Sales Corp.
Multicam Inc. BMO Harris Bank Churchill Steel Plate Ltd Straub Metal International

Coated Coil

GE Capital Finance Ranger Steel

Stainless, Nickel, Aluminum, Pipe, Tube & Bar

American Nickeloid Metals

Investment Banking

Precision Grinding

Prudential Stainless & Alloys, L.P.
Centria Coating Services Brown Gibbons Lang & Company Joco Precision Grinding

Steel

Metal Coaters

Laser Technology

Profiling Software

ArcelorMittal

Coil Processing

AltaMAR, Inc. FastCam Pty Ltd. Central Steel Service, Inc.
Bradbury Group Amada America, Inc.

Rolled and Extruded Aluminum Products

Parker Steel Co.
Braner USA LVD Strippit Aleris Rolled Products SSAB
Burghardt + Schmidt GmbH Mitsubishi Laser-MC Machinery Systems, Inc.

Sawing Technology

Summit Steel Corporation
Butech Bliss

Machining Centers

Behringer Saws, Inc.

Steel Fabrication

Formtek-Maine Handtmann CNC Cosen International, Inc. Voortman Corporation
Herr-Voss Stamco

Material Handling

Cut Technologies Metal

Titanium

IMS Systems, Inc. Canrack Metal Center Systems DoALL Sawing Products TSI Titanium
Leveltek Samuel Strapping Systems HE&M Saw

Tooling

Machine Concepts Steel Storage Systems Inc. Kasto Carlson Tool & Manufacturing Corp.
Red Bud Industries The Caldwell Group, Inc. Metlsaw Systems

Tube & Pipe

Tishken

Metal Alloy Analysis & Verification

Sawblade.com Independence Tube Corp.

Copper & Brass

Thermo Scientific Niton Analyzers Scotchman Industries, Inc. National Tube Supply Company
Christy Metals Inc.

Metal Finishing & Deburring

Wikus Saw Technology Specialty Pipe & Tube
Farmer's Copper Supermax Tools

 

Turnkey Finishing System

 

 

 

Intellifinishing

 

 

 

Waterjet

 

 

 

TECHNI Waterjet

TrendPublishing

twitter facebook linkedin rss

 

FFJ-1114-brandingcovers