The Pacific Fair Porte Cochere is the impressive entrance structure that acts as the main entry point to the newly renovated $670 million Pacific Fair Shopping Centre in Queensland, Australia. The entrance structure is an extension of the fabric architecture applied to the resort section of the facility. The form of the structure was inspired by the tail of a whale, an animal often seen just one kilometer away in the Pacific Ocean off Australia’s Gold Coast region.
“The primary purpose of the structure was to create a dramatic architectural feature that would draw people into the shopping center,” says Beth Karikari, marketing coordinator of Fabritecture, Queensland, Australia. “Functionally, the structure provides weather protection for people entering the shopping center from the main entry point,” Karikari says. The designed entry point needed to be more than just functional, however. “The client requested the wow factor in the form of a sculptural fabric structure,” she says.
The shell structure is made of both concave and convex parts to achieve its shape. The complicated geometry required a stable and flexible fabric. Fabritecture opted for FGT-601 Skytop fabric from Chukoh Chemical Industries Ltd. of Tokyo, Japan. The PTFE fabric is made from glass fiber B yarn, giving it strength, heat resistance and UV resistance. The fabric is also water-repellent and long lasting. “We needed to create a bright, airy ambient space below the entrance,” Karikari says. The white color, translucency and thinness of the fabric made it an easy choice for the design team.
Chukoh Chemical’s Skytop fabrics display a high rate of sun reflection and a low absorption of heat energy. Penetrating solar energy is easily controlled with the fabric, creating comfortable, protected spaces full of natural light. Enough light is diffused throughout the space that artificial daytime illumination is unnecessary, a substantial energy-saving feature of the project.
The project received an IAA 2016 Outstanding Achievement award.
Jake Kulju, a frequent contributor to IFAI publications, is a freelance writer from Shafer, Minn.