Maydon Rd, Maydon Wharf, Durban, South Africa
Embarking on the development of the largest sugar terminal in the world, this silo vouches for the growth and confidence of the local sugar industry as an exporter in the 1960s. Constrained by site limitations alongside the wharf, the 250-metre long and 27-metre high barrel vault could not precisely echo the profile of a sugar pile, resulting in the bent profile, the lower portion retaining the pile. Following the ‘three-pin, tied arch’ structural principle, 3 000 precast concrete scalloped sections, each three metres wide, make up the 80 arches, which are kept in place by post-tensioned cables threaded through the ribs.  Built alongside the wharf, the arches rest on edge beams, which are themselves supported by steel roller bearings affixed to the caps of the deep caisson piles. The use of neoprene synthetic rubber resolved the constructional and operational challenge of keeping the “giant sugar bowl” dry in the face of the humid sub-tropical climate and the structure’s proximity to the sea.
Architect(s): Sir Eric Millbourn With Franklin & Garland
Year: 1962-65

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