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Wicken Fen

Canham Consulting were appointed as Structural Engineers to undertake the design of a new observation platform and hide at Wicken Fen National Trust Nature Reserve.

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The below ground conditions at the site were a significant structural and logistical challenge, due to 3 meters of very soft peat underlying the entire site. Upon our appointment, we engaged ground investigation specialists to carry out strategic below ground investigations using a lightweight dynamic probing rig.

The architectural design included the concept of a ‘birds nest’, sitting on a tripod over the fen. This visually striking design, along with the exposed nature of the structure, meant careful consideration of the structural form, materials, connections and section sizes were required.

Our design utilised a hollow section steel ring beam and frame at the lowest level, which is used to transfer loads to piled foundations. This allowed for a lighter timber structure at the top, while maintaining the visual effect of the platform being suspended over the fen.

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