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10th February 2008
64,259 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've heard it. :) Go on to the GMEX car park on a windy day. this weeks edition, it's superb)

Tallest tower whistles in the wind

by Ciara Leeming

EUROPE’S tallest residential building has been hit by a costly design flaw which causes the landmark tower to whistle loudly in the wind.

Project managers at the £150m Beetham Tower, which now dominates the Manchester skyline, have called in experts to suggest a cure for the noise before doors open later this year.

The first residents of the 47-storey tower are due to move in during the autumn but may demand compensation or alternative accomodation if the sound is judged unbearable.

People living in nearby streets have already reported hearing a loud humming noise through their closed windows, which some believe may be coming from the multi-million pound tower.

The flagship development, on the crossroads between Deansgate, Great Bridgewater Street and Liverpool Road in central Manchester, will be the continent’s highest apartment block when it is completed later this year.

Built from steel and glass, and with glass fins protruding from the top, it towers 171m above the street and was designed by the team behind the prestigious No 1 Deansgate, nearby.

Building firm Carillion is managing the project for the Liverpool-based developer, Beetham.

The 14m steel lattice and blades, which stick out 1.5m, are a design feature described by architect Ian Simpson as being intended “to make the crown of the building appear to dematerialise.”

The added height makes Beetham a record-breaker.

A Hilton Hotel will occupy the lower section of the tower, with the 23rd floor used as a glass-floored “sky bar” and the rest given over to plush apartments and penthouses, all of which have already been sold.

Simpson, whose own double-height top floor flat will boast a garden complete with olive and lemon trees and be the highest living space in the UK, denies any knowledge of the noise and insists nothing is wrong.

But the whistle is now the talk of the building site, with project leaders understood to be unsure how to stop it.

One contractor, who works regularly at the site, said: “Everyone is talking about the whistling tower, it is common knowledge among workers. We think the fins are making the noise when the wind comes in a certain direction.”

Residents of city-centre apartments a number of streets away have heard a strange noise over recent weeks, which some have linked to the building site.

They say it becomes more noticeable at night, when there are fewer cars on the roads.

One man, who lives on Chepstow Street, several streets from Beetham Tower, has been woken up on several occasions by the sound.

He said: “It’s happened a number of times – a loud humming has woken me up at about 2am. My windows were shut each time but I could still hear it.”

Possible solutions may include refitting the fins which jut out from the steel lattice at the top.

Any major change to the design would cause severe embarassment to Beetham if it meant the building no longer smashed any height records.

The family-owned developer faced controversy after residents of its smaller tower in Liverpool objected angrily to plans to build an adjacent building after they moved in, saying it went against earlier promises.

Beetham won that battle and the West Tower is currently under construction.

Simpson, of Manchester-based Ian Simpson Architects, told the Enquirer his design had gone through a rigorous testing process and denied it was making any noise.

He said: “I don’t know where this rumour has come from, Beetham Tower is certainly not whistling and there is no problem.

“Designs such as this one have to be thorougly tested before they are built.”

A Carillion spokeswoman said the firm had nothing to add on the matter.

Beetham’s topping out ceremony, which took place last week, was the traditional construction industry event to mark completion of the shell.

1,175 Posts
That's quite possibly one of the best 'skyline' shots of Manchester I've ever seen - real international bravado about it. I'm guessing 1HS would it make it into that view one day?

Surely neighbours the Hálle could tap into this whistling phenomamnaenomanom?

Less is more.
6,433 Posts
Isaac Newell said:
They should wait till the cranes are removed and the building sealed. There's plenty of stuff for wind to whistle through.
Good point, there's all sorts of gaps in it at the moment. The reporter on NW Tonight seemed to make a point of mentioning it though, he said the sound was coming from the blade.

wind-up merchant
15,971 Posts
When air is blown over a small gap it makes a whistling noise. Get a bottle and blow over it the same thing will happen. When they fit all the glass there wont be a whistling noise because there will be no gap in the building to create one.

All hail to the ale.
929 Posts
Build several more towers along Deansgate, all with different size blades. And hey presto - the worlds largest musical instrument. :)

Second Citizen
16,929 Posts

I would have thought having a total glass skin on the blade would create unacceptable wind loadings. I am really surprised at Simpson here. Whistling wind is one of the first considerations when cladding a car park, let alone a skyscraper! Silly man.

It's looking great though :) and what would a new building be if it didn't have a flaw?

4 Posts
andysimo123 said:
When air is blown over a small gap it makes a whistling noise. Get a bottle and blow over it the same thing will happen. When they fit all the glass there wont be a whistling noise because there will be no gap in the building to create one.
Wind can be a problem for tall buildings, when their geometry causes the wind to buffet them at a resonant frequency. Obviously hitting the natural frequency of the fins rather like a Vimmer.

Could be worse look what happened to the Tacoma Narrows Bridge ! :runaway:

10th February 2008
64,259 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
The engineers working on Beetham have located the source of the problem.

The noise is caused by the wind hitting the blade

Tower blows the whistle on Corrie.

Beetham Tower as seen from Coronation StreetFILMING of Coronation Street is being disrupted by a high-pitched whistling from Manchester's new tallest building.

TV crews at Granada say they are concerned by the noise, which is getting onto the soundtrack of the nation's favourite soap.

Actors and production staff are having to wait for lulls in the whistling before they can go ahead with outdoor scenes on the Weatherfield set, which is in the shadow of the 171-metre tall Beetham Tower. Technicians are now adding their own background noise to mask the flute-like sound.

The persistent noise has been traced to the £155m skyscraper being completed on Deansgate - whose future residents are expected to include Manchester United and England footballer Gary Neville and X Factor winner Shayne Ward.

Engineers working on the tower have admitted the design of the building is to blame. They say the sound is being caused by high winds hitting the thin glass "blade" on top of the structure.

It is understood that bosses at Granada TV have been given reassurances that the noise problem is being tackled.

One member of the Corrie crew said: "You can hear it loud and clear on the earpieces when we're filming on the Street. It goes up and down in pitch.

"Technology exists to get rid of background noise, but this is not a constant noise and it is impossible to remove.

"We've been told that they think they know what the problem is and it will be sorted by next week . . . but we will wait and see."

A Granada spokeswoman said crews had faced problems with the tower's whistling while filming. She said: "Our sound engineers have picked up a flute-like sound which can be heard quite loudly, depending on where you stand on the Corrie set.


"It has not called a halt to filming, but if you can hear it, you don't want it to go onto the programme - and we have been trying to fix the problem by adding background noise into the soundtrack."

City centre residents have complained of the noise for months, but previously building bosses insisted it was a temporary problem which would end when construction was complete.

Now engineers say they will fix barriers on the fin to minimise disturbance.

A spokesman for building firm Carrillion said: "We are adding attachments to the front and back of the glass blade, so that will reduce the noise to an acceptable level.

"We are working on this, but because of high winds, we have not been able to get on the site.

"We are hoping to get this completed within the next two weeks."

Manchester-based architect Ian Simpson, who drew up plans for the building and intends to live in the top-floor penthouse apartment, acknowledged that there had been problems with the sound.

He said: "The building work is not complete yet, and we are experiencing a humming noise at certain wind speeds and certain wind directions.

"This is being investigated and will be remedied in due course."

The 47-storey Beetham Tower has been hailed as a new landmark for Manchester. With 219 flats, it will be the tallest residential building in Europe when it opens in October.

Hear the noise.
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