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Beetham Tower, Birmingham

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DSCF1113

Beetham Tower from ground level

Beetham Tower
Height 122 m (400 ft)
Built 2006
Floors 39
Where Holloway Circus,
Birmingham, UK
Usage Hotel and Residential

Beetham Tower, Birmingham is a 122 metre (400 feet) tall skyscraper completed in 2006 in Birmingham city centre, United Kingdom. It is named after the developers, Beetham Organization, and is designed by Ian Simpson. The cost of construction is estimated to be around £50 million. The entire development covers an area of 650 metre2.

It has 39 floors, and is the second tallest building in the city after the 152 m (498 ft) British Telecom Tower. The whole façade of the building is glass with the front of the building being decorated in "tiger stripes" which are used to enhance the vertical impact. As the apartments were being furbished, monotonous camouflage in an aqua colour was also added with some of the tiger stripes being removed.

The lower 19-floors are a Radisson SAS hotel, which opened to guests on 16 January 2006 whilst the upper floors were still being furnished. The upper 20 floors contain 158 apartments.

It can also be referred to as the Holloway Circus Tower after its address.

Coloured lights can be seen underneath the overhang at night.

There are 8 circular concrete columns as well as the core on each floor. The post-tensioned flat plates of the upper floors measure 225mm in thickness and are concrete.

Design & Construction

The plans for the building were first revealed in 1998 as part of a competition in which designs for a tower acting as a gateway to the city were to be submitted to the council and also for a building that could aid the regeneration plans in and around the area. Two serious proposals were put forward, one by CALA Homes which consisted of two circular glass towers and the other by the Beetham Corporation which had two spires elevating the height to 192 metres. The Beetham Corporation won however it was forced to scale down the towers height due to height limits enforced after the World Trade Center attacks. The spires were also removed were replaced by two cones placed on the rear of the tower. The overhang was not on the original design and instead the curved glass exterior was unbroken.

A model of the tower was tested in a wind tunnel with models of surrounding buildings also being included. The ground of the model was also accurate to that of the Birmingham landscape. The model passed with few problems and construction of the tower began.

Construction began with the clearing of the site and the construction of a tower crane. The concrete core then began to rise and reached a considerable height before the construction of the floors began. The transportation of materials to the higher levels were done using a lift attached to the middle of the curved frontage. That area was intended to be used as a staircase in the case of an emergency.

The construction of the building encountered several problems. Not far into the construction of the lift shaft, a piece of scaffolding became dislodged and fell to the ground causing traffic delays around Holloway Circus which subsequently resulted in widespread disruption in the city centre. On 24 November 2005, 5 pieces of cladding from the higher levels became detached from the building and fell to the ground. Fear of more panels falling off caused nearby roads to be closed for an entire weekend, until the site could be declared safe by inspectors. Clips were later installed to secure the panels, and as of mid-2006, work was underway to permanently secure the panels in place using new clips. The securing of the panels was completed in late-August 2006. The Beetham Corporation could now face legal action due to the structure causing the city centre to be shut. [1] Excluding the problems with the panel clips, construction of the floors took 10 months. Concrete was the primary material in the construction of the structure.

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