façade of stainless steel tubes


stainles steel tubes


steel support structure

westquay watermark - new stainless steel tube façade made by seele

Southampton, the historic port on England’s south coast, now has a new retail and entertainment centre in the shape of WestQuay Watermark. Over the centuries, Southampton’s city centre developed remote from the sea, but now the WestQuay Watermark centre adds facilities near the waterfront for locals and tourists alike. Its cinema, restaurants and other leisure amenities enhance the port district and move activities closer to the sea again. seele’s contract covered the suspended tubular façade to the cinema complex.

  • The architects at ACME conceived a dynamic façade cladding based on stainless steel tubes. To turn this idea into reality, seele made use of a technology for bending stainless steel tubes in three dimensions which had already been developed. Tubes with a diameter of 76mm were chosen. The machine for bending the tubes to the exact forms required was controlled by the very latest 3D design methods. Computer simulation was employed to define the installation sequence, and so all tubes were automatically printed with a code. Every tube is a one-off and lengths vary from 1.6 to 5.6m. The code meant that every tube could be fitted into its one and only position on the façade.
    Once again, seele was able to rely on the expertise within the group and create a unique tubular façade with the help of the high-precision stainless steel fabrication services of seele’s plant in Pilsen. The work was completed in just seven months. The result is a façade of 2,590 stainless steel tubes bent in three dimensions which add up to a total length of 13.4km and total area of 4,343sqm.

    Header image, 1st, 2nd & 4th slide image, reference overview: © Ben Luxmoore; other slide image: © ACME


Client Hammerson PLC GIC
General contractor Sir Robert McAlpine
Architect ACME
Date of completion 2016
Scope of seele supply
  • Draft design, structural calculations, planning and detailed design of suspended tubular façade structure
  • Façade of Ø76mm stainless steel tubes, total length: 13.4km
  • 2,590 stainless steel tubes, 1.6–5.6m long, bent in three dimensions
  • Max. rise of 3D-bent tube = 73.7cm
  • approx. 133t steel support structure