Wrightstyle Celebrates the London Olympics
Tim Kempster, Wrightstyle managing director, offers his congratulations to everyone who participated in the London Games.
Like everyone else in the country, we’d like to congratulate every athlete who competed at the London Olympics, and every volunteer who gave of their time, and wish the paralympians the same success.
As delighted as we were at British success, we were also proud to have been involved in the Olympiad, having supplied fire-rated and acoustic door and curtain wall systems for concourse areas of the main stadium.
Our national and international expertise in designing such projects was a winning factor. Wrightstyle was involved on legacy planning for the Olympic Games in Athens, helping to transform its 41,000 sq metre media hub into one of Greece’s foremost retail centres.
Our company’s systems can also be found in the 70,000-seat Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban,South Africa, built as a venue for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. We were also a supplier to the 2006 Doha Asian Games.
Once the Paralympics ends, the real work begins, with around £300m being spent on transforming the Olympic site into a new catalyst for the whole of east London. That’s not including the £12.5 billion already invested in the Stratford area, in addition to the Olympic park itself.
We sincerely hope that the legacy of London 2012 lives on in new jobs, the further regeneration of a once-blighted area, and in greater participation in sport for young people – whatever their ability or aptitude.
We understand the transformational impact of sport and culture, having also worked on leisure, retail, religious and cultural projects in the UK and internationally – most recently in a major project in the Lebanon to help repair the scars of civil war.
Our glass and steel glazing systems are designed to protect buildings against a range of threats, most commonly fire, but also including man-made threats such as ballistic or bomb attack. Our systems have also recently been installed in the Dubai Metro and the nationally-important US Marines Chapel inVirginia.
Steel glazing systems are an important component in modern architecture, combining the inherent strength of steel with transparency that only glass can provide and, as at previous major sporting occasions, we are proud to have been involved in London 2012.
Wrightstyle, Queen Boudicca and King’s Cross tragedy
Wrightstyle has supplied fire-rated systems to the iconic King’s Cross redevelopment in London. Wrightstyle’s technical director Lee Coates reports.
It was completed in 1852 on the site of a former smallpox hospital, is reputedly haunted by the ghost of Queen Boudicca and is the railway station from which, as every Harry Potter fan knows, you catch the train for Hogwarts.
Work on the over £500 million redevelopment of King’s Cross railway station in London began in 2007, part of a much wider £2.2 billion regeneration project for the area that will see 3.4 million sq ft of office space, 2,000 homes, 500,000 sq ft of retail space, 300 hotel bedrooms, and 650 student units. Already completed is the University of the Arts London, which opened towards the end of last year.
Centrepiece of the redevelopment of the station which handles 47 million station users annually is the newly-opened western concourse, with new passenger facilities, shops and restaurants as well as improved access to the Underground, Thameslink and the adjacent St. Pancras station, terminus for the cross-Channel Eurostar.
Final works on King’s Cross are due to be completed by the end of next year which will see the existing canopy removed, a new public square opened and the original Victorian structure revealed, reinventing the station at the heart of a major commercial, residential and transport hub.
Security is of paramount importance, not least because of the 2005 bombing outrage, which killed 52 people, with the four bombers traveling into King’s Cross before their murderous attacks. Although it remains the worst terrorist attack inLondon, it wasn’t the first at the station. In 1973, a Provisional IRA bomb also detonated in King’s Cross’s booking hall, injuring six people, several seriously.
Appalling as those incidents were, it was a major fire at the station in 1987 which has had arguably the greater influence on public safety. Started most probably by a discarded match, despite smoking having been banned in the Underground two years earlier, the source of the fire was an escalator shaft dating back to before World War II. It was partially built from flammable wood and the running track of the escalator had not been cleaned since the 1940s and was covered in grease and filled with rubbish.
The fire claimed the lives of 31 people, including a fire fighter and a homeless man who wasn’t identified until 2004. Dozens more were injured.
However, the importance of the tragedy in the evolving story of fire safety is that its severity was initially inexplicable. There was a lack of visible flames, and the firemen first on the scene – who had attended other similar fires – believed that it posed little threat. Indeed, fire-fighters later described it as being about the size and intensity of a campfire.
Amid the complacency, the situation rapidly became worse, with the fire appearing to flash over and fill the ticket hall with flames and smoke. Far from now being a campfire, fire-fighters trying to re-enter the ticket hall described conditions as similar to climbing into a volcano.
It was later shown that a combination of wind movements caused by underground trains arriving and leaving created a 12mph wind in a “piston effect”, pushing air from the tunnels upwards and adding to the speed of the fire spreading. However, it took groundbreaking computer modeling and fire simulation, then in its infancy, to promote a new theory of fire development within inclined shafts.
That theory is called the trench effect, and involved hot gases in the buoyant plume to lie along the escalator surface, creating a rapid airflow that caused the gases to move up the escalator, increasing in proportion to the size of the fire, and eventually creating an effect much like a flamethrower, sending flames shooting upwards into the ticket hall.
The computer modeling of the “fluid flow” of the fire helped to substantially advance the science of fire dynamics, using computational simulation to look at how fires behave, with an emphasis on smoke and heat movement from their source.
The subsequent Fennell Investigation into the fire prompted the replacement of all wooden escalators on the Underground, the installation of automatic sprinklers and heat detectors in escalators, mandatory fire safety training for all station staff twice a year, and improvements in emergency services liaison.
The King’s Cross fire, and the impact of computer modeling, has helped inform fire training since and also influenced how companies such as Wrightstyle, which has been significantly involved in complex transportation projects, design the steel glazing systems that mitigate against threats caused by fire.
In supplying glazed components to the frontage of the new King’s Cross, we have brought a wealth of experience and expertise from other UK transport infrastructure projects, as well as overseas contracts in Hong Kong and, more recently, for the Dubai metro. Our advice to specifiers, based on extensive fire and bomb testing, is simple: always specify the glass and steel components as one integrated and tested assembly.
At King’s Cross, working with Hatfield-based Design Rationale, the specialist architectural metalwork and glazing contractor, our large-span systems provide a safe evacuation route from the main administrative areas and, underlining the historic importance of the Grade 1 listed station, were also designed in consultation with English Heritage.
Network Rail promises that the new King’s Cross will be world-class. However, in another important aspect – fire safety – the new station has also had to learn painful lessons from its past, to build a facility offering the safest possible transit for its millions of customers every year.
Boudicca, queen of the Iceni who led a revolt against the Romans, is reputedly buried under platforms 8, 9 or 10. It’s possible that the Battle of Watling Street, at which she was finally defeated, took place where the station now stands. Her ghost is said to inhabit some of the underground passages. It’s also a place of pilgrimage for budding wizards, with Network Rail designating a Platform 9¾ with a luggage trolley half buried into the wall, although rail services only go as far as Scotland.
Wrightstyle worked with their customer, Design Rationale, the specialist architectural metalwork and glazing contractor on this project.
Main contractor for the project is VINCI Construction UK, the national construction and facilities company.
This project article has also been published on www.e-architect.co.uk:
Wrightstyle supplies to iconic new heart of historic city
The centre of Bristol is being reinvented with the largest mixed use development to have been built in the city for twenty years, bringing back into productive life a former brewery site that has lain derelict for ten years.
The £255 million Finzels Reach development, named after a Victorian sugar importer who had a factory in the area, will comprise 399 apartments, 400,000 sq ft of offices and 87,000 sq ft of shops, cafes, restaurants and other leisure facilities, while also incorporating a number of protected and Listed buildings.
Centrepiece of the development is Bridgewater House, the largest speculative office development on site outside London, and which comprises some 110,000 sq ft of Grade A office space, set to be rated as BREEEAM Excellent. Bridgewater House, in the process of completion, will be one of three office buildings in the development.
The 5-storey, 3-sided glass atrium of the new building incorporates steel framing systems from Wrightstyle, the Devizes-based steel glazing specialist. The full-height atrium is designed to bring maximum light to each intermediate floor and provide 30 minutes of integrity and insulation.
The advanced framing system also had to deliver acoustic control and was designed so that floor levels can be sub-divided to different occupants without impacting on fire compartmentation – a complex design challenge for which Wrightstyle has become internationally-recognised.
Finzels Reach has already become a landmark in the city and will become a new commercial, social, retail and cultural hub. Apart from the commercial space, over 1,000 people will live in the development, and Temple Cross at the centre of the scheme will be one of the city’s principal public areas. In addition, a pedestrian bridge will connect the site with Castle Park on the opposite bank of the Avon, with landscaped walkways along the riverside.
Wrightstyle has become a trusted partner in regeneration schemes both in the UK and internationally, with a long list of flagship completions from Edinburgh to Hong Kong. The company’s valued design expertise in the supply of both internal and external systems is matched by its commitment to a rigorous test regime to EU, Asia-Pacific and US standards.
Development Client: HDG Mansur Group
Main contractor: John Sisk & Sons
Façade/glazing contractor: Astec Projects
Commercial property agent: Knight Frank Bristol
Photography: John Seaman Photography, Bristol
Wrightstyle is helping to complete one of the most significant regeneration projects in the Middle East, the US$160 million redevelopment of the Solidere Beirut Souks.
The project has created The Lebanon’s largest shopping area, with over 200 retail outlets, as well as leisure, entertainment and other public spaces, bringing back to life an area of the city that had been badly scarred by the country’s civil war.
Devizes-based Wrightstyle has supplied some 1300 sq metres of SR60 large-span curtain walling, as well as a large number of thermally-broken window assemblies. The company was chosen for this nationally-significantly project because it could supply large-span systems able to meet high wind-loading criteria.
Reconstruction of Beirut’s central district started in 1991, with a master-plan aimed at preserving and redeveloping as much of the city’s historic buildings as possible. However, the original medieval souks had been too damaged in the conflict to be saved and an international design competition was launched by Solidere, the project’s developers.
The new souks are a low-rise complex of buildings, together having 163,010 square metres (1,754,600 sq ft) of floor space and 17,307 square metres (186,290 sq ft) of pedestrian areas that closely follow the ancient Greek street grid. The Beirut Souks were partially opened in October 2009 with final completion scheduled for the end of this year.
The award of the contract to Wrightstyle reflects the increasing specialism involved in the design of high-performance steel glazing systems, particularly those intended to mitigate against fire or terrorist attack – to being able to withstand high wind-loads in large-span configuration.
In the past few months, Wrightstyle has supplied advanced curtain walling and door systems for projects in Hong Kong, the USA and Malta. The company has also been specifically involved with a number of other regeneration projects, both in the UK and internationally.
Wrightstyle’s has a proven expertise in designing large-span glazing systems, a key factor for the Beirut contract, and its systems are in place from Ocean Terminal, a retail and entertainment complex in Edinburgh, to Langham Place, a retail and mixed-use development in Hong Kong. In both projects, particularly in Hong Kong which sits in a typhoon zone, wind-loading was a key design criterion.
“We are very pleased to have supplied to this prestigious project in Beirut, an important element in the redevelopment of this historic and beautiful city. It underlines how specialist the international design and supply of steel glazing systems has become, with specifications becoming more and more stringent,” said Tim Kempster, managing director, Wrightstyle.
Main contractor: Geneco
Architect: Valode & Pistre Arquitectos, Annabel Karim Kassar Architects
Wrightstyle Fabricator: Alumatec, Jeddah
Project Management: Solidere
For further media information, please contact
Charlie Laidlaw, David Gray PR
+44 (0) 1620 844736 or (mobile) +44 (0) 7890 396518
The website of Solidere Beirut Souks is:
Wrightstyle Limited, one of Europe’s leading suppliers of advanced glass and steelglazing systems, has appointed Jimmy Chiu as Business Development Manager, north of England and Scotland.
Jimmy joins Devizes-based Wrightstyle as the company looks to expand in both the UK and international markets.
Jimmy Chiu has worked in the glass and glazing industry for 14 years, primarily with Impactex Safety Glass, Leeds (now Pilkington Laminated), and, for the past eleven years, with Arkoni Limited.
“Jimmy’s national and international experience, especially with fire and security glazing, will be a real asset to Wrightstyle at a time when the market is increasingly recognising how specialist our systems are – capable of dealing with the full spectrum of natural and man-made threats,” said Tim Kempster, Wrightstyle managing director.
“At Wrightstyle, we not only supply the glass and framing system, but our guarantee is that both elements have been tested together as one compatible unit – against fire, ballistic or bomb attack, and therefore offering complete security for our customers. That’s an important message that the industry needs to hear, and Jimmy’s experience makes him the perfect person for the role,” he said.
Jimmy Chiu said that he was “very pleased to be joining Wrightstyle, as the company continues to set national and international standards in its design innovation and performance testing regimes.”
Picture: Simon Bennett (Wrightstyle Sales Director) & Jimmy Chiu at Wrightstyle Warehouse.
Wrightstyle+44 (0) 1380 722 239
Media enquiries to Charlie Laidlaw, David Gray PR
Charlielaidlawyahoocouk+44 (0) 1620 844736 (m) +44 (0) 7890 396518
Jimmy Chiu – email: Jimmychiuwrightstylecouk (Jimmychiuwrightstylecouk)
Underlining the specialist nature of fire protection for high-value buildings, a UK company has supplied market-leading fire doors for the headquarters of HSBC Bank in Malta.
Wrightstyle Limited was chosen because it is one of the only suppliers of fire and smoke-protected unlatched doors on the international market, and able to provide a one-stop design through to fabrication service.
The Valletta contract not only involved significant design input for the prestigious location, but had to be delivered as complete and finished system within a three-week timeframe.
HSBC Bank Malta plc is the largest bank in Malta, with a network of around 60 branches and offices. The Bank’s regional headquarters is therefore an extremely high-value asset and Wrightstyle’s systems had to meet stringent international fire standards.
The breakthrough fire door system from Wrightstyle, launched in the last year, offers designers internationally a range of entirely new and fully-glazed interior or exterior door options that give complete practicality coupled with absolute fire safety.
Wrightstyle’s unlatched door systems have also been independently tested against the passage of smoke – a common requirement for doors situated in high-traffic areas, although smoke-seal testing is not standard across the industry.
“In the event of a fire, the passage of toxic smoke and gases through an unlatched fire door could be just as serious as the fire itself. Our unlatched doors have all been smoke-seal tested and, because they are often located in cross-corridor or stairwell areas, we believe that all unlatched doors should carry that same level of protection,” said Lee Coates, Wrightstyle’s technical director.
It was Wrightstyle’s ability to demonstrate independent testing against both fire and smoke that was an important factor in the Malta contact award, underlining the highly-specialist nature and international context of the steel glazing market.
That internationalism was reflected two years ago when Wrightstyle was appointed to provide structural glazing for HSBC’s commercially strategic HK$900 million (£62 million) financial data centre in Hong Kong, helping to secure the building against terrorist, fire and weather-related threats.
For the Malta contract, the Wrightstyle concept in door fire safety also significantly pushed the design envelope because it provided a technological solution for what has always been an interior design problem. Traditionally, interior fire doors in their closed position had to be manually opened with a lever handle and latch – a less than optimal solution in a busy working environment.
The Wrightstyle system entirely does away with the need for latches because in normal use the doors allow free passage, either swinging back automatically into the closed position or fitted with an automated swing door operator to aid disabled access.
“The rising volume of international business that we are involved with clearly demonstrates how the glass and steel glazing sector has become increasingly specialised, with products and systems capable of meeting evermore stringent fire and building regulations,” said Lee Coates.
Wrightstyle Limited has become the only UK steel glazing system specialist to offer a complete design, fabrication and installation service, offering a turnkey solution and a quality guarantee at each stage of the contract process.
The company, which supplies glazing systems, fabricated products and fire resistant glass worldwide, can now offer its UK customers a cost-efficient service, that includes a full design and fabrication service at the company’s own specialist facilities – and an installation service using only Wrightstyle accredited personnel.
This gives subcontractors, contractors and specifiers, the option for single sourcing a steel glazing contract; often for complex design applications to just one company – negating the need for ordering from multiple supply chains, and then using further sub-contractors to fabricate and install the finished systems.
The company has appointed Chris Lainsbury as its Contracts Director, with responsibility for the management of all site activities. Chris, who has worked in the curtain walling and specialist glazed façade industry for over 25 years, brings a wealth of experience on all aspects of site activities, and his appointment reflects Wrightstyle’s continual commitment to total quality management of all its projects, including the training of accredited installers.
Wrightstyle undertakes installer training programmes at its UK headquarters, to ensure that it has a network of technically-advanced installers, trained by the same personnel that originally designed, tested and developed the systems.
Lee Coates, Wrightstyle’s Technical Director and leader of the in-house accredited training programme, said: “This approach to training means that they have an absolutely clear understanding of how each of our systems is designed to operate, and how each internal or external system must be fitted; to guarantee it’s optimum performance for any given situation, which could be fire, blast, ballistic, thermal or simply large span applications.”
Wrightstyle has long championed the case for governments to ensure compatibility between glass and framing elements in high-performance systems, arguing that in some cases, the components being proposed may never have been brought together and tested as one unit – to ensure compatibility. Most recently, the company took that case to the Middle East, where Abu Dhabi is now introducing new building regulations to resolve that situation.
Wrightstyle’s systems have all been compatibility tested as one unit, worldwide. For example, in the case of blast resistance, a recent 500 kg of TNT-equivalent explosives were used in a successful lorry bomb test. This policy of continually testing all elements ensures and guarantees the systems’ compatibility to perform, against fire, ballistic and explosive attack. The company has said publicly for some years, that building regulations internationally should require proven compatibility, otherwise the integrity of the glazing system could be compromised.
The decision to offer subcontractors, contractors and specifiers, the option of an installation service takes that guarantee-led approach one step further. “It gives us a real advantage because, for the first time, we can put our company name behind each step in the design to installation process. In other words, it’s not just about compatibility as far as the system is concerned, it’s about a cost-effective and total-quality approach at every stage,” said Chris Lainsbury, Contracts Director.
“This gives us the ability to offer our customers a closed loop option. They no longer have to manage several different companies in the design, supply, fabrication and installation chain. We can handle all those specialist stages and my function is to ensure that we have an absolute focus on effective contract management and customer satisfaction,” he added.
Wrightstyle’s high-performance systems can be found worldwide – from Australasia to the Asia-Pacific regions and from the Middle East to South Africa and the United States. The company’s range of external curtain walling, and internal screens and doors, have been tested separately to meet EU, Far Eastern and US standards.
In the past year, the company has supplied products to a nationally-prestigious chapel in the USA for fallen Marine Corps soldiers, to a FIFA World Cup stadium in South Africa, and the Dubai Metro system. Wrightstyle also supplies across the UK and Ireland where its systems can be found in a wide variety of commercial, government and retail applications.
Site Installation Service Overview http://www.wrightstyle.co.uk/systems/site-installation/
Published in Architects Datafile Magazine – March 2011
Jane Embury is a director of Wrightstyle, the Devizes-based supplier of steel glazing systems. Her company has an international reputation for innovative glass solutions.
We may all be tightening our collective belts, but it’s the construction sector that will help us emerge from the economic doldrums. It comprises more than 300,000 companies, employs over two million people and contributes over 8% of the nation’s Gross Value Added (GVA).
But the sector’s importance goes far beyond mere economics, important as that is, because the construction industry, working across all professional disciplines in the built environment, is also about meeting 21st century aspirations and reviving down-at-heel neighbourhoods. That is at the heart of building wider confidence and creating jobs.
The key in many instances is retail – and it’s a global phenomenon with which we at Wrightstyle are becoming associated as architects increasingly use large spans of glass to illuminate their new retail cathedrals. Uniquely, glass blurs the divide between interior and exterior spaces – allowing natural light to flood in to create inspirational interiors.
A stunning example of the new fusion of architectural innovation and regeneration is Langham Place in Hong Kong, a HK $3.1 billion development that is already being hailed as a milestone in urban renewal. It includes a 53-storey office tower, a 5-star hotel with 665 bedrooms and rooftop swimming pool as well as a 600,000 sq ft shopping mall with 300 shops.
The 1.8 million sq ft development has helped to transform a rundown area of Hong Kong into one of its most popular visitor destinations, entirely changing a part of the city that was better known as a red light district into a must-go-and-see destination.
As a shoppers’ paradise, the Langham Place Mall is unique in Hong Kong. Within its 15-storeys are more than 300 shops – roughly the same number as in London’s Oxford Street.
At the top of the shopping centre, reached via one of the world’s largest unsupported escalators, is the Ozone, complete with an indoor waterfall and – another unique feature – a Digital Sky. This enormous rooftop screen spans the entire length of the ceiling and broadcasts continuous overhead visuals, and which attracts large crowds to celebrate festive events – turning the shopping centre into an important civic space.
The stringent fire safety specification for the project, which has three towers from 13 to 53 storeys, and with two link bridges between the retail and hotel areas, covered several international standards including British Standards (BS) for fire resistance, American (ASTM) for mechanical strength and German (DIN) standards for material qualities.
In addition to meeting the fire performance specification, our high-performance curtain walling system, protecting vital walkways between the main building and the shopping area, also had to accommodate large unsupported spans of glazing and still comply with the high wind load criteria associated with a typhoon-prone part of the world.
Closer to home is Ocean Terminal, on the seafront at Leith, Edinburgh’s port. This shopping centre is also host to the Royal Yacht Britannia and the famous ship’s visitor centre, making the development an international attraction as well as Scotland’s third largest shopping centre.
The 440,000 square foot complex, which cost £120 million, is part of the overall regeneration of Leith, itself the largest waterfront development in Europe. Like its Hong Kong counterpart, the redevelopment of Leith has also transformed a red light district into an attractive leisure, residential and retail area – and bringing in thousands of jobs, including the HQ of the Scottish Executive.
Once again, glass was fundamental to the design concept, incorporating a frontage that is one of the UK’s largest free-spans of curtain walling. The overall glazed span at Ocean Terminal is over 16 metres in height, with the largest individual free span over ten metres with grid centres of four metres. Each piece of glass accommodated within the system weighs a massive 450 kg. In total, our system covers 1130 square metres of façade.
A third project with which we were associated is Midsummer Place, a £170 million project in Milton Keynes that covers 450,000 sq ft, and is built around a 150-year old oak tree that started its sapling life in the reign of Queen Victoria. Like many shopping centres, Midsummer Place also uses art as a means of engaging with its local community – including a stained glass window by the renowned artist Ann Smith, and one of the largest indoor animated clocks in the country, weighing over four tonnes.
That combination of retail, leisure and art is again made possible by over 500 sq metres of curtain walling, creating an open, welcoming and multi-functional interior space – and underlining how modern curtain walling can now offer both fire protection with majestically large and expansive glazed vision areas.
More recently, we were able to give Tesco a little extra help on a retail-led development in Hull. The 540,000 sq ft St Stephens Centre, one of the most ambitious regeneration projects in Europe, combines large retail spaces with a new bus and railway interchange, a 440-seat theatre and £3 million music centre.
Working with Solaglas Structural Contracting, we supplied two fire screens to divide the first floor and car park from the main shopping mall. Measuring more than 100 metres in length the fire screen is believed to be the longest of its type in the country – again reflecting how architects are designing in ever-larger spans of glass.
Further afield, last year we helped to transform an Olympic media hub in Athens into one of Greece’s foremost retail centres, providing a good example of legacy planning for future Olympic Games. A fire-rated façade of the recently-opened 41,000 sq meter centre, which has 131 retail outlets, cafes and restaurants, was constructed using one of our steel glazing systems – and demonstrating how sensible redevlopment can work in practice and, more importantly, create new jobs.
But it’s not just retail. Last year we were also involved in the transformation of a 20-acre waterside site in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire with a mixed-use development designed to create a perfect location for local, national and international businesses.
The centrepiece of the development is The Boathouse, a complex design on the bank of the river Nene, designed in the shape of a boat. Despite having to withstand severe weather and salt corrosion, the design incorporates wide-bay curtain walling and a faceted configuration.
For the Wisbech project, commissioned by Fenland District Council, we installed glazing systems and fire doors to protect fire escape routes. The Boathouse, highly commended in the most recent RICS Awards, is an integral part of creating a gateway to the Wash and to the network of inland canals stretching into Cambridgeshire and the Midlands – an asset that had been in decline. The site, derelict for 20 years, is now a tourist attraction for the town and a major catalyst for further development.
The aesthetic advantages of glass are obvious, and how glass can transform the ambience and functionality of interior space is now well understood. The challenge for us is to keep pace with architectural evolution – from providing unrivalled performance against fire, or acoustic and weather performance, to combating terrorist attack.
The economic downturn may have dented our collective progress on redeveloping our urban landscapes, and making them fitter-for-purpose for the 21st century. But there are very good reasons for using regenerative projects to bolster confidence in the future and create the new jobs that are vital for the recovery. The construction sector is central to that mission.
Scott Mulligan, a CAD draughtsman at Wrightstyle, successfully competed in the Ice Marathon.
An intrepid runner from Wrightstyle, has successfully completed the world’s coldest and most arduous marathon.
Scott Mulligan, who is a CAD draughtsman with the company, finished the annual Antarctic Ice Marathon last month in a commendable time of 5 hours and 16 minutes – crossing the line in the men’s race in 8th place and placed 9th overall in the whole marathon event.
The marathon course mainly consisted of compacted snow, with wind-chill temperatures falling as low as minus 20 degrees C. The course started and finished at the marathon’s base camp, just a few hundred miles from the South Pole, at the foot of the Ellsworth Mountains.
It is a truly formidable Antarctic challenge, with strong Katabatic winds to contend with and taking place at an altitude of 3,000 feet. More remarkably, this was Scott’s first marathon event.
He was raising money for the British Red Cross, and was also sponsored by Wrightstyle. Denis Wright, the company’s chairman, said that “everyone at Wrightstyle is immensely proud of Scott’s achievements.”
You can read Scott’s blog of his memorable exploits on his blog. http://www.wrightstyle.co.uk/scottmulligan/
Jane Embury from Wrightstyle, the steel and glass system supplier, offers a few ideas for the ideal Christmas gift.
It’s been a ground-breaking year for Wrightstyle, in which we supplied systems for the new US Marines Chapel in the USA, the Dubai Metro in the UAE and for a FIFA World Cup stadium in South Africa.
At Wrightstyle, we know everything there is to know about glazing systems, and we intend to stick to what we know, investing in design and development, and staying ahead of the competition through creativity and innovation.
But our products and systems don’t make the ideal Christmas gift, which is why I’d like to offer some suggestions.
Best of all, especially for people you don’t like, is the coat parachute. That was the brainchild of Franz Reichelt who in 1912 fell to his death off the first deck of the Eiffel Tower while testing his fantastic new invention.
However, much more useful is the hot-air balloon that, for propulsion, is attached to an eagle or vulture. Of course, you must first capture your large bird, and can then only travel where it wants to go. (Patent number 863087, issued 1887, if you’re interested).
If you or your loved one can’t be bothered cleaning the kitchen floor, how about giving each other duster slippers for cats. Just attach them to your cat’s paws, and that’s the floor done. Brilliant.
Less useful is the solar-powered flashlight. The beauty of this invention is, of course, that it works well on sunny days – and less well in the middle of the night, just when you might need it.
The Japanese seem very good at these kind of inventions. For example, dog goggles to protect your pet from strong sunlight or dust. They even have a name for it – chindogu, meaning the art of the un-useless idea.
Best of all is the toilet roll dispenser that you attach to the top of your head, to make it easier to blow your nose. Wouldn’t it be easier to have some tissues in your pocket? Apparently not.
Some Christmas gift ideas are probably illegal – for example, the plough (patented 1862) that handily doubles as an artillery piece.
More useful for a heavy-sleeping partner is the alarm clock with an alarming difference (patented 1882). This makes use of a clockwork mechanism to drop weights onto the sleeping person and wake them up.
As a glass company we rather like Herkimer J. Karkowski’s invention (patented 1903) to preserve the body of a dead loved one inside a block of glass. The New Yorker also had the foresight to realise that this might take up a lot of space and be rather heavy. His other idea was simply to preserve the head – a talking piece (so to speak) at any Christmas party.
For your wife or girlfriend, why not give her a water-filled bra (patented 1988). The American inventor, James Moreau, explained that it would be a “a brassiere which surrounds the breasts with water, so that a buoyant force provides improved and independent support for each breast. A transparent version is suggested for those who wish to make a fashion statement.”
Another good Christmas gift, apposite in this period of over-indulgence, is the alarm-equipped fork, which buzzes or lights up after a pre-set period – ensuring that the user leaves sufficient time to chew 32 times.
However, if you’re still looking for that elusive perfect gift, why not splash out on a pair of metal-detecting sandals. They attach to a black box that can be concealed under a long dress or trousers – so that nobody need know that you’re actually on the prowl for hidden treasure.
This year I hope to receive expensive diamonds, and the more the merrier. Memo to loved ones: I don’t want any of the above.
But from everyone at Wrightstyle, have a very happy Christmas!