Shade to Order Pty Ltd. | Gateshead, New South Wales, Australia
The client, Brigidine College, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, requested a radical and visually stunning structure, which won an Outstanding Achievement Award in the tensile structures, 6,000-25,000 sq. ft. category of the 2008 International Achievement Awards,: a freestanding structure overlapping the existing two-story buildings to give excellent shade and waterproofing to the area. Inverted umbrellas stand 12m high. An inverted conical structure using one continuous fabric skin meant installation involved careful integration of the steel and fabric installation. Fabric was laid out first, then the six vertical uprights installed through the fabric. The remainder of the steelwork was installed, then the fabric was pulled up and over the buildings. Water runoff is controlled through the six columns and goes into a storm-water system. The columns also house power and lights so special design factors were needed to ensure a successful result. The fact that this multiple inverted conical structure uses one continuous skin instead of more commonly seen individual skins with flashings is what sets it apart. The difficulty of designing, manufacturing and installing a structure this way is far greater, but so is the success of the final result.