Waldeck to work on Bethnal Green Memorial

Waldeck Engineering has been appointed to design and detail three pre-cast concrete plinths which will form part of a memorial commemorating those who died in the Bethnal Green disaster on 3rd March 1943.

The tragedy, which took place in the stairwell of Bethnal Green tube station in London, was the worst civilian disaster of World War II. 300 people were crushed into the stairwell within a few seconds, 173 of them died and over 90 were injured.

As part of the memorial plinth’s design process, Waldeck’s team of structural engineers is using the latest Tekla Structures Building Information Modelling (BIM) software to create detailed 3D models of the pre-cast concrete elements.

These models allow the Waldeck team to interrogate the design and eliminate any problems at an early stage, thereby reducing design and fabrication errors.

The 3D model also enables the manufacturer, Aggregate Industries, to produce a precise mould.

Waldeck Director John Holroyd said this is particularly useful when working on a project of this nature.

“The Bethnal Green Memorial is a challenging project because of the unusual shape of the design,” said John.

“The plinths have sloping planes and there are no straight angles, which is where the Tekla Structures software comes into its own.

“Using 3D finite element analysis and detailing software, our engineers can produce extremely economical specifications and accurate drawings and deal with irregular structural configurations more efficiently.”

One of the three polished concrete plinths designed by Arboreal Architecture acts as a support arm for a hollowed out laminated teak stairway; this echoes the entrance stairway to the tube station directly below and accurately depicts the volume of space in which people died.

Project Engineers The Morton Partnership have designed the foundations, connection to precast support arm and the timber stairway.

A series of bronze plaques will be mounted on the two lower plinths, which will rise out of the ground with defined spaces where people can lay flowers and wreaths.

Work on the first phase of the project, which includes the construction of the plinths, started on site on 23rd February 2012 and will take approximately three months to complete.

About Bethnal Green Memorial

  • Planning permission has been granted for a memorial in the form of a precast concrete support arm and teak stairway with 173 light cones in the roof, representing those who died, designed by local architects Arboreal Architecture.
  • The largest of the three plinths weighs 10 tonnes and measures 7.5 metres high and 1 metre wide.
  • The Stairway to Heaven Memorial Trust was established in 2007 to create a memorial to those who died in the disaster.
  • The trust has raised £256,000 for the first phase of the project which includes the groundwork, landscaping, benches, plaques and the pre-cast concrete plinths.
  • The trust is currently in the process of raising the £150,000 in funds necessary for the completion of the project’s second stage. For more information or to make a donation online please visit www.stairwaytoheavenmemorial.org

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