Slingco has installed a CableNet tensioned wire grid system into the Studio Theatre in the Student Union building at the new £50 million Queen Margaret’s University College (QMUC) in Musselburgh, south-east Edinburgh, Scotland.

This complete new build project opened in September. It’s the first new Scottish University Campus of the 21st century and replaces QMUC’s three previous city center sites. It has been designed and built as a state-of-the-art center of academic excellence, complete with vibrant student village and an innovative learning resource center at its core. It will cater for up to 5,000 students plus staff.

The student union building was designed by architects Dyer Associates and is purpose built, like everything else.

Queen Margaret University specifically requested that a Slingco CableNet be installed in the new theatre, following its huge conceptual and practical success at their previous Gateway Theatre in town, which was installed by Slingco in 2002. Slingco was duly contacted by Dyer Associates to design and install the grid, thus creating a completely safe working environment above the stage and auditorium of the flexible studio space.

The project was managed for Slingco by Chris Bruce, who says, “Repeat business is always good, and this is a seriously high profile project in which we’re proud to have been involved.” He adds that they have worked closely with QMUC’s consulting engineers Buro Happold.

The grid measures 11.1 meters long by 8 meters wide and is secured at 5.5 meters off the ground, creating a fully enclosed space above. It was assembled on the floor by the Slingco team and lifted into place using chain hoists before being secured to the building steelwork. Slingco’s consultations with Buro Happold ensured that the right steels were in the correct places to make this a smooth installation process.

The tricky element of the grid installation was fitting it around the HVAC ducting that was already in place when the grid went in. This took a bit of calculation, recalls Chris, but the operation went completely seamlessly on the day.

The grid will be used to house the theatre’s lighting rig (supplied through Northern Light), together with some sound equipment. The hangers and the hand-railing for the CableNet are made from the same 43.8 millimeter diameter tubing as that of standard theatrical lighting bars for additional versatility, allowing them the option of using these for lantern storage or for clamping lighting fixtures in place for performances.