Valhalla

Designer: BPBL
Location: Blackpool Pleaseure Beach
Completion: 2013

One of the star attractions at Blackpool Pleasure Beach, Valhalla is the world's largest indoor, dark ride. Its new "rock face" facade is nearly 100m long and over 20m high and incorporates projecting rock faces, waterfalls, turntables, flame effects and a 10m high skull.

In addition to this, Blackpool's unique climate meant that strong winds, salt laden air, driving rain as well as blistering summer sun were all key issues that had to be considered in the design.

The facade is formed from sprayed concrete onto a dual layer of specially designed and fabricated sculptured mesh. This undulating concrete wall was designed to carry its own weight back down to the foundations, with bridging structures over the flume entrances and exits.

The lateral loads from the potentially high winds are resisted by a series of galvanised steel arms that project from the main structural frame. In order to allow for differential vertical movement between the steel frame and concrete facade these arms are designed as pure pins that can rotate through spherical orbit while still providing lateral restraint. This design was also key to providing the construction tolerances between the sculpted mesh facade base and the main steel frame that could not be exposed until site work started in order to maximise the ride's "in use" time.