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Updated Designs Unveiled For Amerahm Vent Shaft Headhouse

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HS2 has unveiled updated designs for the Amersham vent shaft headhouse, one of five structures that will provide ventilation and emergency access to the high-speed rail line's 10 mile-long Chiltern tunnel.

Set in the middle of a road junction just outside the town, the new designs will see the height of the circular single storey building reduced by more than two metres and the 'crown' of steel fins replaced with perforated pre-patinated zinc panels to help match the natural tones of the surrounding landscape.

Building on feedback and advice from Buckinghamshire Council, the new design will also see the weathered steel boundary wall replaced by a more traditional stone wall made of flint. The stone is naturally occurring within chalk hills like the Chilterns and flint facades have been a prominent feature of local architecture for hundreds of years.

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The layout of the buildings will remain unchanged, with the spiral shaped walls echoing the shape of the site and the shaft beneath, while extra planting will be provided on the A413/A404 side of the site.

Kay Hughes, HS2 Ltd's Design Director said: "The Amersham headhouse is one of the few parts of the Chiltern tunnel visible above ground so it’s important that we get the design right. LDA Landscape Architects and Grimshaw Architects have risen to the challenge with an exemplary design with local character.

"The curved form of the head house is sensitively nestled into the landscape of a local traffic island by the designers. This and the combination of natural and traditional materials provides a contextual relationship with the area’s longstanding architectural traditions and setting."

The 10 mile long Chiltern tunnel is the longest on the HS2 project, which is designed to improve links between London, Birmingham and the north, help level-up the economy and provide a low carbon alternative to car and air travel.

Below ground level, the 38 metre deep Amersham ventilation shaft will reach down to the twin tunnels below, with fans and other equipment designed to regulate air quality and temperature, remove smoke in the event of a fire and provide access for the emergency services.

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