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Putting Pinewood in the picture

International design engineer Web Structures has played a major role in creating a new $150 million state-of-the-art film and television production studio in Malaysia for the iconic cinema giant Pinewood.

The 32-hectare Pinewood Iskandar Malaysia Studios complex has been built in Iskandar, a fast-growing economic development region in the south of the country.

Cinema giant the Pinewood Group – which helped create the James Bond and Harry Potter films - partnered with Khazanah Nasional Bhd, the investment holding arm of the Malaysian government to appoint Web Structures to the project.

The new facility, which has now been completed, has five stages ranging from 1,400 to 2,800 square meters and two TV studios with high-definition production equipment and a 1,400 audience capacity. Pinewood Iskandar also has extensive post-production facilities.

The Web Structures’ structural engineering team worked to create the giant studio buildings, with their 50 metre column-free spans.

Their expertise, built on more than 20 years working in earthquake zones across Asia, has also ensured the buildings are free of ground vibrations that could affect filming for the big screen or television by causing camera shake.

The integrated film and television studio complex, designed by GDP Architects in Kuala Lumpur, took 20 months to construct. It is set for an official opening later this year or in early 2014.

Long span steel trusses were used to create the giant studio buildings and “box-in-box” construction methods were used, with isolation bearing ensuring the buildings are free from ground vibration.

A “super flat” floating floor, also designed by the Web Structures team, will allow the smooth movement of cameras in the TV studio.

The team, led by senior associate Ooi Shein Din, was also involved in the design and construction of a reinforced concrete underwater filming tank and the biggest outdoor green screen and tank in Asia.

Dr Hossein Rezai, group director of Web Structures, says: “This development is set to create hundreds of jobs and attract international productions to Malaysia. We are very proud to have played a part in bringing the vision to reality.

“The completion of the work also marks another milestone for the growing Iskandar development region, which continues to attract major investment.”

Ooi Shein Din, Pinewood project leader at Web Structures, says: “Our team has worked closely with the architects to deliver detailed design work on the Pinewood project, meeting the challenges of creating buildings designed to be the best possible for cinema and television filming.

“That meant creating large, column free spaces and also ensuring that the buildings are not affected by ground movement, which could cause camera shake.

“We employed a “box-in-box” method for the construction of the TV studio. The entire inner box structure has been designed to sit on isolation bearing to ensure the buildings are free from any ground vibration that could affect filming.”

The project highlights the versatility of Web Structures’ team of design engineers, who have a growing reputation for their work on some of the biggest and most challenging construction projects in all parts of the world.

Dr Rezai said: “Our knowledge helps us provide solutions which stretch the boundaries of existing work practices, it is why architects come to us with challenges like those at Pinewood.

“The design processes we have developed over the years leads to structural systems that are tailor-made for each and every project and are totally cost-efficient. That was very much the approach we took with the Pinewood Iskandar project.”

Web Structures works in partnership with leading international architects including Foster and Partners, UN Studio, Kohn Pederson Fox (KPF) and Conran & Partners to create iconic buildings across the world.

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