Manchester Town Hall, a Case Study in Structural Glass Reliability and Robustness
The design of the structural glass for the Manchester Town Hall Link (completed 2015) was carried out by engineering consultancy Eckersley O’Callaghan (EOC). The glass facade forms an enclosed shell which supports a steel roof and acts monolithically to resist lateral loads. The project collates the latest advances in glass technology combined with innovative design methods. In the absence of explicit codes of practice for structural glass, EOC performed a first principles approach in using empirical data, acquired through previous projects, and analytical methods, including FEM and parametric modelling, to justify an elegant and efficient structure which was approved by building control authorities. The result has reduced glass joints and less visible metalwork to meet the architects’ aspirations. This paper describes the approaches and innovations in designing the structural glass for this project.