APPLICATION OF PROJECT:

The project was to design and install a unique waterproof shade structure to a Year 11/12 study area at an elite private Grammar School in Sydney.

The area under cover is 760sqm. The space to be shaded was clearly defined and located between the austere 19th century red brick buildings on a second floor flat tiled roof

PROJECT DESCRIPTION:

Beyond a school’s playing fields, exposed concrete surfaces often represented the extent of outdoor space in many schools built a century ago.  Knox Grammar was no different. Today the definition of outdoor space is much more exciting and open to design possibilities. For schools with resources, outdoor spaces can be unique, comfortable, multifunctional and aesthetic.

This project was designed to deliver a modern purposeful student space in an old fashioned but elite private school environment. The shape of the courtyard was not regular. It had an outward projecting building through the centre of the courtyard. The structure had to straddle both sides of the courtyard and protect two sets of doorways.  A “U” shaped double intersecting snake cantilever was born.

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DESIGN / FABRICATION / INSTALLATION BRIEF

The client’s brief was for the structure to be

  • Functional - to protect students from the elements.
  • Inviting - to attract students to study and relax.
  • Impressive - befitting an elite school with a WOW factor
  • Modern - incorporating design landscaping and computer technology elements in the overall redevelopment and
  • A meshing of old historic elements of the school with a modern future vision
  • Unique - This is a one-off design. It was selected amongst many submitted because it met the clients brief and sparked their interest.

STRUCTURAL SYSTEMS

A challenge was that the courtyard roof was on Level Two. Large cranes were required to lift materials over walls and into position. Working in a school environment safety had to be taken very seriously. Work times were limited to out-of-school hours and holidays when machinery could be engaged.

Design:

We won the job from others asked to offer a unique design. We think outside the box and relish the opportunity to design one-off projects for clients prepared to take a challenge and believe in our abilities.

There is a feeling of protection and caring under the lightweight enclosed roof membrane and the strong hard building walls. This unique space is testament to how the school identifies itself – unique, forward thinking and ready to take on a challenge. We too support this philosophy in our own business.

The project has exceeded all expectations. There were no issues raised.

This project was about creating a sense of place for students beyond the stress of the classroom where learning, conversation and food can come together away from the formal classrooms and traditional stuffy school confines. Beyond a school’s playing fields, exposed concrete surfaces often represented the extent of outdoor space in many schools built a century ago.  Knox Grammar was no different.

The desire to create a space where two time periods, austere traditional and modern electronic age can work together was achieved. Today the definition of outdoor space is much more exciting and open to design possibilities. For schools with resources, outdoor spaces can be unique, comfortable, multifunctional and aesthetic.

This project was designed to deliver a modern purposeful student space in an old fashioned but elite private school environment. This is a welcoming space for students, parents and visitors alike.

MATERIALS

High quality materials and processes were essential.  We chose a design and PVC fabric that allowed water and hail to be adequately shed.  Steel was hot dipped galvanised inside and out for long term rust protection. 

Students needed to be assured that both they and their electronic equipment were dry under the shade structure. The the courtyard furniture design featured an integrated electronic system to suit computers, tablets and i-phones.

Knowledge and confidence in highly reputable textile fabrics that we were familiar with over many years of usage ensured we identified the most suitable building textiles that would achieve this very important requirement.

FABRICATION

The project went together very well. We had a great working relationship with the school contacts. Timing of installation went well despite weather, location of the structure on the second floor and working through school timetable restrictions.

COLLABORATION, CONSTRUCTION AND MAINTENANCE

As is fairly typical, while maintenance is offered on all our structures to keep structures looking good and attend to minor repairs to avoid larger potential issues, we are unlikely to see the client again until a problem arises.

OTHER INFORMATION

One of the many challenges was the weather. During the construction period, Sydney experienced some of the hottest summer weather on record. Working on a hot slate roof had its share of heat related issues. The men’s steel tipped work boots would often stick onto the black slate. Galvanised steel posts were too hot to touch even with gloves on as temperatures around the posts on that black slate roof soared to 60 degrees well over the extreme 40-44 degrees reported. These indicators ensured that the work day stopped very early. The client put us on a tight schedule in order to reach project completion however staff safety dictated that on some days work just could not proceed.

Credits

Entrant:  Hytech Plastics pty Ltd t/as Abacus Shade Structures
Role played by Entrant:  Designer / installer

Location:  Wahroonga, NSW 
Completed:   December 2017

Client:  Knox Grammar School

Engineer:  Trevor Hall
Other Consultants: Abacus Shade Structures
Builder:  Abacus Shade Structures
Fabricator:  Abacus Shade Structures