An in-depth article has appeared online at Building.co.uk which takes a look at rebuilding the 007 Stage–against all odds.
Arguably the most recognizable aspect of Pinewood Studios and with a long history associated with the James Bond films, the 007 Stage was also recently used for The Da Vinci Code, Mission Impossible and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, in which a 30 ft high chocolate waterfall fed a 300 ft long chocolate river.
‘There is nowhere else they could have done that,’ says David Wight, Pinewood Studios Group’s head of property and retail. ‘Because of its iconic name, it’s the jewel in our crown.’
Therefore, after the 30 July 2006 fire during the dismantling of Casino Royale sets, Pinewood had to move rapidly to rebuild the set for upcoming productions. ‘We had to get it ready by the early part of 2007 for contractual reasons. We had a completion date before we started,’ says Wight. ‘We quickly discovered that under current Building Regulations we couldn’t rebuild it as it was and within the timescale.’
As a result, a new design was planned. ‘We decided not to make our planning application controversial to speed it through,’ says Wight, ‘so the footprint and height were kept identical [to the original dimensions].’ Wight believes Pinewood’s good relationship with the local planning department and its decision to keep the rebuilding project simple meant that the application was approved in five weeks.
A construction team was assembled and 18 September was the starting date. ‘I think we were assisted by all the coverage in The Sun. You only had to ring up a supplier and they had heard of the studio,’ says Wight. ‘Mind you, we heard a lot of terrible puns too, such as “a licence to grill”.’
The main contract was for the steelwork, a total of 1,450 tonnes. ‘It was a tight programme,’ says Craig Phillpot, Bourne Steel’s bid manager. ‘From the time they started talking to us we were given 16 weeks to design it, detail it, get it approved, fabricate it and erect it. After the order went [on 24 August], that was it–it was set in stone–as there was no time to change anything.’
When Bluestone started work on 18 September, the old studio had already been demolished. The water tank was retained, plus the slab around it, although a strip 3m wide down the two long sides was removed so that the foundations for the columns could be inserted. The groundworkers only had a month to build foundations suitable for such a large project before Bourne Steel could begin work. ‘This could easily have taken twice as long,’ says Adrian Barnes, area manager for contractor Bluestone. ‘We were lucky with the weather.’
‘The water tank was a complication,’ says Phillpot. ‘We had to do a lot of craneage from outside the building as we didn’t want to damage the tank.’
Despite the seemingly endless challenges, the newly designed and rebuilt 007 Stage was completed for its deadline: 9 March 2007. An unusually cooperative atmosphere was ‘the spirit in which we had to build the job,’ says Barnes. ‘Without those positive relationships we would never have achieved it.’
There’s much more… Click here to read the entire report on Building.co.uk.
Keep watching CBn for all the latest James Bond news.
- 007 Stage Website Officially Launched By Pinewood Studios
- Pinewood’s New Albert R. Broccoli 007 Stage
- Pinewood Given The ‘OK’ To Rebuild 007 Stage
- Demolition Of ‘007 Stage’ Confirmed
- Casino Royale – Official Website Report #13
- 007 Stage Will Need To Be ‘Demolished And Rebuilt’
- ‘007 Stage’ Destroyed by Fire at Pinewood