Working for frame design and fabrication company Brilliant Stages, Whitby Wood carried out the structural engineering calculations for the huge kinetic LED screens installed in the Now Building by Tottenham Court Road Tube station in central London. They occupy a covered open public space, and the effect has been described by The Guardian as “… the most extreme evolution of advertising yet: a gigantic walk-in billboard … Featuring three times as much screen area as Piccadilly Circus”.
The Now Building is part of a wider project developed by Consolidated Developments, called Outernet — a £1bn reinvention of an entire block on Charing Cross Road that includes live venues, an hotel, bars and clubs. The Now Building was designed and constructed by third parties and a key part of it is the ‘urban gallery’: a space approximately 30m x 20m on plan with 16m clear height.
Three elements of this space work together — two walls of static LED screens (by others), two banks of double-sided kinetic LED screens that move on tracks to complete the enclosure of the space, and auto-closing facade panels (by others) on three sides. The facade panels are subject to a wind management strategy and controlled by the building management system. When open and the kinetic screens deployed, the visual display can be seen from the streets.
We provided engineering consultation and a review of technical fabrication drawings by Brilliant Stages. The kinetic screens consist of 42 panels (hanging from top rails and restrained laterally at the base), each 960mm wide and approximately 9m high, making it possible for the screens to navigate the corners of the track. Our assessments included elements such as extrusion frames, top and bottom rails and drives, rail support brackets and connections to the building’s steel frame.
Frame design and fabrication : Brilliant Stages
LED provider : Aoto Electronics
Site installation : EDS, Bright Join
Building architect : Orms
Building structural engineer : Engenuiti
The Guardian October 28, 2022
Brilliant Stages for Consolidated Developments
Arts / installations
Public open space
Temporary + demountable structures
technical illustrations : Brilliant Stages
other images : Whitby Wood