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Danum Gallery, Library, and Museum, Doncaster




Wilmott Dixon


Bond Bryan



Project Summary & Objective

The new Doncaster Culture and Learning Centre (DCLC) will consolidate four buildings, including the library, museum and art gallery, into one dynamic hub that will inspire creativity, learning and innovation in the local community. Part new build, part refurbishment, the building will be set over four storeys with the pivotal focus of the building being a portion of the former Doncaster High School for Girls. The school was built in 1910 and has become a local landmark in the community since. The façade will be incorporated into the new build by restoring and encasing it in glass to form an engaging exhibition for visitors.

We were tasked with the objective of overseeing the Civil and Structural Engineering design of a proposed steel frame and the refurbishment/restoration works of the existing building through all RIBA Stages. The braced steel frame takes advantage of composite beam action from a composite slab to ensure an economical and shallow floor construction.

Key Challenges

“Some unusual design elements to the proposed steel frame included; the proposed building to span over the existing building, to provide a 9m cantilever over the main entrance and a glazed front elevation to encase the existing building whilst considering disproportionate collapse requirements. The lower ground floor also would include a steam locomotive exhibit for 2 working steam locomotives which have Doncaster heritage.

Only a portion of the existing building was to be encased in the proposed building, after demolition this would leave the iconic central façade and a wedge of the building behind. The existing building required to be appraised for the change of use to a public building.”


“We produced an extensive ground works plan whereby we undertook a cut and fill exercise and introduced retaining walls where necessary. This appraisal considered both finished building requirements and the construction sequencing.

A curved 20m spanning truss was designed working with the appointed steel fabricator to ensure stability during a staged steel erection sequence. A deep cell beam was designed for the 9m cantilever with an 8m backspan. This cantilever was designed to support the roof slab and the floor below through a tie at the tip of the cantilever.

The glazed front elevation is supported by steel columns, 14m in height without any intermediate restraint. These columns support the roof over the existing building. Notional removal of these columns was undertaken to satisfy disproportionate collapse requirements. The retaining wall along the front elevation has also been designed to accommodate a traffic collision.

Working closely with the design team, the requirement for the 2 locomotive rails were understood and incorporated into the foundation and external works strategies.

The demolition of the existing building was appraised to ensure the retained portion of the building would retain its integrity for the design life of the new building. This appraisal included intrusive surveys of the existing slabs and inspections of the walls and the iconic timber turrets. Any restoration works were designed to ensure the existing building working closely with a specialist restoration contractor to ensure the existing building is integrated into the proposed building for its entire design life.”


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