Kier has completed a continuous concrete pour lasting 10 hours and 15 minutes to create a single-structure domed roof at the new First Light Pavilion at Jodrell Bank near Alderley Edge.
The £20.5m pavilion, due to open to the public next year, will house an exhibition and auditorium dedicated to telling the stories of the Jodrell Bank observatory.
Kier poured a total of 381m3 into a mould spanning 50m to create the roof, in what the University of Manchester claimed was the first concrete pour of its kind in more than 25 years.
Ryan Southern, of Kier Construction, said: “The concrete pour for the dome structure represented a big moment in the project and took a lot of careful planning to ensure its success. It involved a complex methodology, so we’re delighted to see this important stage of the construction come together so well. We must also thank our supply chain, Mayo Civils, for their efforts.”
Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre director Professor Teresa Anderson said: “We’re thrilled to have reached this milestone and are delighted to be able to see the new building take shape. The progress symbolises a new hope for the future and we can’t wait to be able to welcome visitors to this beautiful new building, and share with them the stories of Jodrell Bank and its pioneering scientists.”
The round, dome-like structure of the building designed by Hassell mirrors the circumference of the iconic Lovell Telescope. Within the dome are a number of cutaways including the Pavilion’s entrance built into a curved concrete wall designed to reflect the arc of the sun. Two separate walls then guide visitors in, with a single glass slot cut out at the centre, illuminating a meridian line cast onto the floor at the entrance, echoing a history of astronomy in architecture.