Weight and its related issues are a key point of focus for engineers undertaking projects that will be put under high load pressures.
While these kinds of issues are especially relevant in bridge developments, where distribution of mass weight is key, other projects also need to pay special attention to the concept of weight.
One development that forced engineers to tackle a weighty issue is the recently completed Gullesfjord Weight Control Station located in Troms, Norway. Designers of the facility, which functions as a truck weighing station, were tasked with developing a facility that would be put under high weight loads and heavy levels of stress and traffic.
This is a building that would need to be engineered in order to be highly durable and could meet the increased projected traffic flow of the area, catering to functional needs of the trucks and their drivers.
The designers looked to the natural surroundings in creating a building included maximum strength and durability without putting pressure on or damaging those surroundings, which just so happen to be a surrounding national park on the roadway junction of Lofoten Island.
The designers achieved this goal by relying on the organic rather than on built forms in order to strategically integrate the mass of the building into its surroundings.
Built primarily out of concrete – a highly durable material – the building is supported by inclined columns which allow it to fit in with the surrounding landscape. The roof of the building was covered with vegetation, essentially creating a green roof, in order to sustainably insulate the facility and further minimise the built aesthetic.
With the mass of the building integrated into the actual surrounding terrain, it finds additional strength and durability without added stress on built structures, allowing the organic to aid in the functioning of the facility and ensuring that further weight on the building – including slow fall and the growing rooftop garden – will not affect the overall strength of the form.
Sustainable industry practices are not simply limited to construction or design elements. From an engineering point of view, sustainability is about function and the mechanics of making a project less reliant on unsustainable means, including materials and technologies. This project is an example of clever engineering reaping the rewards of using the natural in creating a highly functional, durable building that due to its long terms energy efficiency, will reap both monetary and environmental, rewards.