Imperial College (The Drum), London

The Drum

Specialist Metal Forming

Project: The Drum, Imperial College Client: Astec Projects
Architect: Foster & Partners
Date of completion: 2004

Tanaka Business School at Imperial College is a landmark building on London’s Exhibition Road.   World renowned architectural innovators, Foster & Partners, designed a striking stainless steel drum rising from the atrium space of the building. This drum houses a vertical stack of interactive lecture theatres, enclosed study spaces and cafe.

Stewart Fraser’s specialist metal forming services were commissioned by Astec Projects to support the design, construction and installation of the Tanaka Drum Project. Key challenges included building a prototype panel of a specially extruded aluminium section with a finely ribbed ‘mushroom shaped’ surface in stainless steel. We were able to manufacture the prototype for approval thanks to our ability to use Drawbenches in running small section quantities with limited tooling budgets.

With the method proven, we produced 56,000 metres of section using Gangroll tooling, which is a highly efficient and consistent form of manufacture. Furthermore, this process enabled the profile to be produced to the very tight tolerances required in order for the sections to be fitted over the aluminium on site.

An additional benefit was that the section could be pre-taped, ensuring surface protection during handling and transportation.

Stewart Fraser’s dedication to detail and specialist metal forming skills have helped create a visually impressive frontage to this prestigious project.