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Civic Buildings Projects

Doctor Who lands in Cardiff


Collinson: When BBC Worldwide were looking for a new long term home for the Doctor Who Experience it was an obvious choice to bring this famous multi-sensory interactive exhibition to a new purpose-built residence in the city of Cardiff, next to the Roath Lock Studios, the BBC’s largest drama production outside of London where the show will be filmed from later this year.   

The Roath Lock Studios form part of the massive urban redevelopment of a derelict inner harbour area of Cardiff Bay to create Porth Teigr, a modern vibrant waterfront development in an initiative between the Welsh Assembly and Igloo, which now sees the site becoming the centre point for creative industries in Wales.   

Lancashire-based company Collinson plc were chosen to construct the new home of the Doctor Who Experience, supplying one of their tension membrane buildings, which, with the ability to offer clear spans of up to 100m by virtually any length provided the perfect clear open internal space for BBC Worldwide to create a memorable exhibition which will take visitors on an exciting journey through special effects, sets and memorabilia from the series, including a recreation of the modern TARDIS.   

A representative of Cardiff Council said  “Collinson tailored a great solution to meet our requirements, when the build commenced they kept us fully informed at regular meetings and worked amiably with other contractors appointed by us to ensure the project was completed to meet BBC Worldwide’s deadline. 

This attraction is expected to bring millions of pounds into the city’s economy, and the benefits to Cardiff will be immense in the terms of tourism.  We wish Cardiff and the Doctor Who Experience every success.”   Working in conjunction with Cardiff City Council and their chosen architects Holder Mathias, Collinson designed and constructed the 3000m² building, housing 4181m² of internal space which in addition to the main exhibition hall incorporates a first floor mezzanine and two storey accommodation comprising reception area, café, classroom, kitchen, washrooms and offices.  

The striking external appearance of the building is down to the unique nature of the design; differing ridge heights and the curved eaves of the steel frame are covered by a heavy duty architectural membrane producing smooth flowing lines. 

Unlike many clients who select a white membrane cover to allow natural light to permeate the building, a special black-out membrane was chosen in this instance to ensure total darkness inside the facility in order to maximise the impact of special effects and lighting.  

The building also features an impressive glazed curtain wall on the front façade, lending a futuristic feel that Doctor Who fans will undoubtedly approve of.  Dan Collinson, Managing Director of Collinson said “This has been a great project, working with Cardiff City Council and BBC Worldwide on the Doctor Who project and being part of creating something imaginative and extraordinary is always exciting for us. 

We’re confident the finished result will not only impress visitors to the exhibition, but we hope it will inspire people think creatively when it comes to the materials and design that can be utilised in constructing public buildings such as this”  

Earthlings will have a chance to visit the Experience, with an opportunity to board the TARDIS, meet the Doctor, Daleks, Cybermen, Ice Warriors and many more from the 20th July 2012.   For more details contact Collinson on 01995 606451 or visit www.collinson.co.uk.