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Ford Motor Company NAIAS 2006 (05-01-06)
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Ford Motor Company NAIAS 2006

Ford Motor Company NAIAS 2006

Ford Motor Company NAIAS 2006

Ford Motor Company NAIAS 2006 - under construction

Total Structures were awarded the contract to manufacture the structure in May 2006. Prior to this some time was developing a system that would best serve the clients needs on the project.

The contract was awarded, after a competitive bid process, by Imagination Inc. who designed and implemented the entire Ford Corporate exhibit and the majority of the individual Ford brands owned by the company as they have for many years.

The brief for the project was to create a "Corporate Box" that would house all the Ford brands (Ford, Lincoln, Mercury, Mazda, Volvo, Jaguar, Land Rover, Aston Martin) in an enclosed space. The "Box" description is literal as what was required was a ceiling and walls on three sides containing a space 460ft x 240ft (over 110,000 square ft) x 28ft high. The entire structure was then to be clad in fabric leaving only exposed lighting troughs that were required to be large enough to house all the fixtures and provide room for focusing. It was crucial to the design that no part of any lighting fixture was hanging below the ceiling surface thus giving an impression of bats hanging in a cave.

The truss was designed large enough (800mm [31.5"] wide x 900mm [34.5"] tall) in 3m lengths so that could house 4 individual adjustable light bars to allow any fixture (including automated fixtures) to be mounted in its optimal position in the truss, and also to be pre-rigged. A further consideration was that the bottom face of the truss was to be free of members so that they did not interfere with focusing and positioning of the lamps, and also so that there was no visible structure from the ground. The careful location of internal of internal bracing allowed this to happen.

The grid was then made up from 24 rows x 240ft long cross stage trusses on 6m centers (6m = 20ft approx - note that the entire design was developed in the UK and was based on a metric grid) with a perimeter truss and additional spreader trusses at the ¼ span points. Many of the building columns and the support structure for the city's people mover train had to be incorporated into the space, and where these interfered with the grid, custom truss elements had to be made to accommodate them and provide a structure that the ceiling fabric could be attached to.

In addition, a 12m (40ft) diameter circle (known as the "Ford Halo") was also included as part of the structure over the Ford brand area and a 2m (6ft) pelmet was required to finish the ceiling at the open front entrance of the exhibit.

In addition to the ceiling grid, a structural wall system was developed to construct the 460ft walls required along each side. This had to carry its own self weight, the tension of the fabrics attached to it, a plywood skin on each side behind the fabric (to stop anyone falling through the wall) and also to carry wooden dowell panels around the access openings which were part of the finished dressing. Total Structures developed a new system of horizontal and vertical ladders on approx 3m (10ft) centers that formed the thickness of the wall, and into which could be accommodated the 4 traffic and exit points along each side. The wall connected to the ceiling grid so that the components could be assembled from the top down as the grid was raised and the final wall sections contained screw jacks so that the they could accommodate the unlevel floor and transfer the applied loads and self weight directly to the floor rather than the COBO hall roof. The final structural integrity of the wall came from the addition of snap braces to provide lateral stability. The wall structure was manufactured in the UK by our associate company, Total Fabrications Inc, and all 1000ft x 28ft was shipped in a single sea freight container.

It is believed that the entire rig is probably the largest "Temporary lighting grid" ever assembled as a single structure and required 216 motor points to lift it.

Some stats....

Approx 2.5KM of truss was used
Around 5 million individual weld points
Approx 55 tons of Aluminum
50000sq ft of painted area (Truss and wall metalwork only)
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