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Racking Plant, Greene King Brewery
Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk
associated engineer
Anthony Hunt Associates
Anthony Hunt
date  1979
era  Modern  |  category  Building  |  reference  TL855635
At the Greene King Brewery in Bury St Edmunds is a large industrial building with a steel superstructure that houses a racking plant for the brewery. It dates from the High Tech period of architectural design in this country, though the technologies used are straightforward.
The processing plant covers an area of 3,250 sq m. It is rectangular in plan: effectively a large rectangular shed, ideal for racking. Racking is the process of cleaning casks and filling them with draft beer. The empty casks are delivered to one end of a building, cleaned, filled and stored inside the space, and despatched at the other end. Beer is supplied by pipeline from the brewery to storage tanks.
The site, close to the River Linnett, makes it prone to flooding, a factor that had to be taken into consideration in the building's design. The floor level has been raised as a consequence, which brought another advantage too: the floor level could be set at truck tailboard height for efficient loading and unloading.
The structure of the building consists of two parts: a concrete slab and sub-floor; and a steel superstructure with steel cladding.
The floor slab was cast in situ. It sits on a 2.5m x 2.5m grid of cylindrical concrete piles. These also provide solid bases for the plant equipment. The upper side of the floor slab is contoured, providing drainage for spillages and aiding floor cleaning.
The steel superstructure consists of hollow circular section columns, 6m high. They are set on a grid 10m x 15m, aligned with the concrete piles. The columns support steel trusses, also made of hollow circular section. The structural depth of the trusses varies little, despite the two sizes of span.
The building is clad in a double skin of profiled steel, with sheets spanning up to 10m horizontally. Extruded aluminium edge supports are positioned on the 10m grid externally but at closer centres internally. The front and back elevations are taken up with 'up and over' industrial doors, which have been specially stiffened to make it possible for them operate in the 7.5m-wide openings.
The roof is flat, and cantilevers 1.2m to cover raised pedestrian walkways along each side of the building. Access stairs, positioned symetrically, are provided at the building corners. A 5m roof cantilever shelters each of the two loading bays.
Architect: Michael Hopkins & Partners
Quantity surveyor: David Belfield & Everest
Services engineer: RW Gregory & Partners
Specialist contractor: Crawford Doors Ltd
Research: ND
Location

Racking Plant, Greene King Brewery