Impression of the
completed dining area
more economic to use metal decking, and
a small cantilevering area of the school
The design of the classroom blocks is
based around a regimented steel column
grid pattern. The perimeter columns
are spaced at 8m centres and there are
also two internal spans of 8m. On each
of the block’s three floors, two rows of
classrooms are separated by a 3m-wide
central corridor, formed by two rows of
Approximately, 180t of Westok cellular
USFB (ultra shallow floor beams) have
been used to span the corridors. This form
of construction eliminates any significant
downstands, with the beams residing
within the depth of the precast slabs and
in-situ structural topping.
This leaves service routes along
corridors and into classrooms
uninterrupted, further contributing to the
potential for an exposed soffit aesthetic.
The cellular beams will be left exposed
in the final scheme, but they will not be
the only steel elements on show when
the school opens. A series of 500mm ×
250mm x16mm elliptical hollow section
columns will adorn the school’s tripleheight
Chosen for their aesthetically pleasing
appearance, the columns support a series
of 25.6m-long × 2.4m-deep trusses, which
form the dining area’s roof. The trusses
will also be on view to staff and students
while they are enjoying their food.
Stability for the overall steel frame is
derived from vertical bracings, and much
of this is located in the classroom partition
walls as well as in the stair cores.
As well as the dining area, another of
the four blocks contains an assembly hall,
which is another large column-free space.
The hall is a double-height space and is
formed by a series of 22.5m long rafters.
The college’s other large columnfree
space is the sports hall, which is
separated from the other blocks by one
of the project’s many movement joints.
It is however, connected to an adjoining
classroom block via a link corridor. A
series of 16m-long beams forms the sports
hall’s roof and open-plan space.
The New Madras College is due to open
its doors to students for the autumn term
The completed college
students from two
Steelwork was erected
in six phases
You can view
drone footage of the
construction site at