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Tensioned awning

Case Studies, Exteriors, Landscapes | February 1, 2017 | By:

808a_4cBeachfront golf anyone? Overlooking a pristine beach that stretches along the northeast coast of New Zealand, Tara iti Golf Club has been positioned as the premiere private golf club in the country.

Located on a former pine tree plantation, this exclusive club oversees a landscape that has been cleared and restored to a native dune vegetation (at the edges of the fairways) and affords spectacular views of Brean Bay, the South Pacific Ocean and the offshore islands of Taranga. The club’s marketing campaign makes prideful note that the course is the first in New Zealand to feature fescue turf (the standard grass cover for golf courses around the world) on the fairways as well as the greens, lending “true playing conditions in the southern hemisphere.”

The course clubhouse is located close to the shoreline along the northeast coast of the North Island, the part of New Zealand that includes Auckland and Whangarei. The course proper has been designed and created within a sand dune peninsula and consequently the terrain is all sand, lending itself to rather harsh climate year round. With this weather condition in mind, the developers requested a protective, deployable awning for the clubhouse that could be quickly and easily installed on special occasions and for outdoor summertime dining. But this is no ordinary awning. In fact, it is a tensile structure functioning as an awning by having one half of the fabric attach to the building, while the edge away from the building is supported on poles that hold the covered space open to the ocean air.

With any tensile structure, the key is inducing double curvature and making sure there are no flat sections that might cause pooling of storm water, a danger to structural integrity if a major storm were to strike. Fabric Structures Systems Ltd., Whangarei, New Zealand, fabricators of this attractive shelter experimented with the notion of a tensile awning structure that could be closed up during squalls and bad weather, while remaining operable and, in extreme cases, quickly and fully demountable by fewer than five people.

The awning structure is approximately 14 meters by 8 meters with the long dimension placed flush against the clubhouse roof edge. Fabric Structures Systems (FSS) designed the structure with a stretch, waterproof and fire-rated fabric that could be readily manipulated into free-form tensile shapes without requiring excessive engineering, formfinding or analysis, a time and money saver toward manufacture. The angled support spars are made of lathe-turned New Zealand Kauri timber with electroplated brass finish stainless end sleeves and fittings. The guy ropes are 16mm spliced nautical rigging lines attached at ground to retrievable 1.8-meter helix ground anchors that are wound into the sand dunes.

For bad weather protection mode, one of the side support spars is removed and repositioned at a raking angle under the main fabric shape.

The loose end is pulled down to the ground and fastened to one of the ground anchors, thus reducing the size of the opening exposed to foul weather. Custom-shaped fabric sidewalls are then attached making the awning into a virtual tent. FSS created the structure to be installed in three hours by four people and to withstand 30-knot winds.

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