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Inflatable structure showcases international rugby

Exteriors | May 1, 2009 | By:

Fabric Shelter System | Whangarei, NTLD, New Zealand

The project, which won an Award of Excellence in the air structures category of the 2008 International Achievement Awards, entailed the design and build of an inflatable structure in the shape of a rugby ball. Inside was a large mezzanine floor, stage, bar, toilets, storage, control room and seating areas. Inside the venue the internal surface of the ball was used as a 360-degree projection surface to promote New Zealand as a destination. Visitors entered the ball through a specially designed revolving air-lock door that maintained the internal pressure of the ball. Specialized monitoring equipment maintained a constant air pressure and air quality in the ball by controlling two large fans concealed under the internal floor surface, along with the air-conditioning plant. Because the exhibition was the first foreign exhibition to be permitted on the Champs des Mar, the ball’s design, aesthetics and risk management were closely reviewed by French authorities. No penetrations were allowed in the ground, so no guy ropes could be used. A concealed water ballast system was used in the base of the structure to hold the structure down. One of the toughest parameters of the project was the time frame. The project had to be completed in four months, to be ready in Paris for the Rugby World Cup finals.

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