Case Study: Edinburgh International Festival 2016

Project: Deep Time Opening Event and The Hub Venue. Photos: Edinburgh International Festival / Mihaela Bodlovic

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Background

For the second year in a row, Turner Access Contracts Division were approached by the Edinburgh International Festival and 59 Productions to supply scaffolding structures for some events taking place during the International Festival’s three week programme.

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Client's Problem

The first structure requested was for the Standard Life Opening Event: Deep Time, produced in association with The University of Edinburgh and Edinburgh Castle. The Standard Life Opening Event: Deep Time was a free, outdoor artwork created by 59 Productions, in which the western façade of Edinburgh Castle and Castle Rock were used as the canvas for digitally animated projections inspired by the city’s past, set to a specially compiled soundtrack by Scottish rock band Mogwai.

The second structure required was for a more intimate setting – the main hall at International Festival’s headquarters – for cabaret show Alan Cumming Sings Sappy Songs and a concert by Edinburgh’s Mercury Prize-wining band Young Fathers.

 

Our Solution

There were a number of challenges on both jobs, specifically around the designs of the structures. The Standard Life Opening Event: Deep Time required a location from where digital projectors could be housed and positioned to project onto Edinburgh Castle and Castle Rock. Saltire Court, a Grade A office building directly facing Edinburgh Castle, was selected as the location to house the lighting and projection equipment. Saltire Court has a flat roof, directly above and behind the audience, which was the ideal location for the projectors to be housed.

Turner OCTO® System Scaffolding was used to build a temporary sheeted enclosure to house the digital projectors and protect them from the elements. During the scaffold design phase, special consideration had to be given to prevent movement such as wind uplift. The sheeted scaffolding had to be secured to the structure of the building; however, restrictions on how the structure could be tied-in had an impact on the design.

The scaffold structure could not be fixed to certain parts of the roof because of the material. To overcome these restrictions, the scaffolding was fixed to the underside of a concrete structure in the centre of the roof. This was achieved using ladder beams, joined to the scaffolding and installed through the accessible area underneath the concrete slab.

To access the sheeted scaffolding structure, the International Festival team also required a clear walkway to bridge ventilation on the roof. This was also achieved using Turner OCTO®.

The events at The Hub presented challenges of a different nature, mainly due to the dual nature of what the scaffolding structure was needed for. The first requirement was for a seated structure for audience use during Alan Cumming Sings Sappy Songs. This structure featured a tiered platform to accommodate booths and tables for the audience. After a number of nights in this format, the structure had to change to accommodate a standing terraced platform for a different event, two concerts from the band Young Fathers. After two performances, the structure had to be converted back to the original setup for the remaining Alan Cumming Sings Sappy Songs shows.

The Turner OCTO® System was the ideal solution for this dual requirement due to its ease of adaptability. There were also space and weight restrictions within the venue that were overcome by the modular design of OCTO®. To aid in the conversion of the structure, Turner Access Contracts personnel conducted additional visits to the venue to install handrails for the terraced standing structure. The planned loading of scaffolding in and out of the venue had to be done ‘out of hours’ due to the busy location of The Hub in the centre of Edinburgh, situated at the top of the Royal Mile.

The scaffold structure could not be fixed to certain parts of the roof because of the material. To overcome these restrictions, the scaffolding was fixed to the underside of a concrete structure in the centre of the roof. This was achieved using ladder beams, joined to the scaffolding and installed through the accessible area underneath the concrete slab.

To access the sheeted scaffolding structure, the International Festival team also required a clear walkway to bridge ventilation on the roof. This was also achieved using Turner OCTO®.

The events at The Hub presented challenges of a different nature, mainly due to the dual nature of what the scaffolding structure was needed for. The first requirement was for a seated structure for audience use during Alan Cumming Sings Sappy Songs. This structure featured a tiered platform to accommodate booths and tables for the audience. After a number of nights in this format, the structure had to change to accommodate a standing terraced platform for a different event, two concerts from the band Young Fathers. After two performances, the structure had to be converted back to the original setup for the remaining Alan Cumming Sings Sappy Songs shows.

The Outcome

The Turner OCTO® System was the ideal solution for this dual requirement due to its ease of adaptability. There were also space and weight restrictions within the venue that were overcome by the modular design of OCTO®. To aid in the conversion of the structure, Turner Access Contracts personnel conducted additional visits to the venue to install handrails for the terraced standing structure. The planned loading of scaffolding in and out of the venue had to be done ‘out of hours’ due to the busy location of The Hub in the centre of Edinburgh, situated at the top of the Royal Mile.

 

Client Testimonial

John Robb, Head of Technical for the Edinburgh International Festival said: ‘Turner Access are our go-to company when we have projects that demand structures of this kind.

‘This year’s projects were particularly challenging, with very specific details and requirements. Turner Access demonstrated their flexible and creative approach to each problem, ensuring they delivered the ideal solutions for the Edinburgh International Festival. We’ve worked repeatedly with Turner Access over many years, primarily because they are incredibly professional and easy to work with, as well as having what I believe to be the best product to meet with our very precise requirements.

‘On the ground, their crew worked extremely closely with our teams to ensure everything went as planned. Turner Access were crucial to the success of the Standard Life Opening Event – Deep Time, I genuinely wouldn’t want to work with any other access company’.

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