Neuron Pod is an extension to Centre of the Cell’s (CotC) educational community engagement programme at the late Will Alsop RA OBE designed Blizard Institute, part of Queen Mary University, London.
Raised off the ground on three legs and connected to an existing glazed bridge, Neuron pod is constructed from a weathering steel monocoque shell with a fibre optic façade. Like the existing pods inside the Blizard Institute Neuron Pod is designed to visually reference a cell, in this case a Neuron Cell. Inside it offers an 84 m² versatile space designed to house the full range of CotC’s activities.
Neuron Pod and Hot Dip Galvanizing
While Neuron Pod is made from weathering steel the bridge connecting the pod to the existing building is made from galvanized steel. Using a combination of weathering and galvanized steel gave the designers two structural materials with contrasting, maintenance free, industrial finishes. This contrast in finishes allowed aLL Design to differentiate between Neuron Pod’s sculpted form and the more utilitarian design of the bridge.
The access bridge acts as a truss and is hung from the Neuron Pod by stainless steel tension rods, putting no weight on the existing building. The bridge was welded together as one piece, including the handrail, before being galvanized in a large tank. The bridge was then delivered to site and craned into position. This resulted in a uniform finish across the whole bridge structure.
Coloured Perspex panels echoing the existing glazed walkway are framed by the galvanized truss, and protected by galvanized grating, easing the transition between the new Neuron Pod and the existing Blizard Institute.
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