Jordans Cereal Visitor Centre

Biggleswade, Bedfordshire

Architects: Roderick James Architects
Engineers: Structural Solutions, Bristol
Contractor: Bowmans
Highlights: Historic mill complex, 11m free-spanning steel & oak flitch floor beams, Unruly ground conditions

Jordans Cereals is a British company that produces breakfast cereals and cereal bars. The Jordan brothers wanted to open a visitor centre with cafe, shop and conference centre next to the Mill where the Jordan family have milled cereals since 1883. The site, on the picturesque River Ivel, has a long history of milling dating back to the 11th century.

Roderick James Architects was commissioned to design the new visitor centre and Westwind Oak was appointed as the nominated oak frame contractor. The main contractor and project manager was Bowmans.

The Visitor Centre has a timber engineered contemporary green oak frame. Originally the frame was designed with two large supporting oak pillars but a free span was preferred by the client. The frame was redesigned to incorporate 11m free-spanning steel and oak flitch floor beams so that there was an unrestricted area within the cafe.

The steel flitch beams weighed in at over 2 tonnes each which meant a 100 tonne crane was required to move them. Bowmans had to reinforce the ground in front of the slab and at the site entrance in order to take the weight of the crane. We worked closely with Bowmans to overcome the site's difficult ground conditions which included a number of culverts and tunnels running under the slab which had originated from the ancient mills.

Jordans Cereal Visitor Centre is now a thriving visitor destination welcoming thousands of visitors each year.

Photographer: Jordans Mill, Nigel Rigden

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