In preparation for the return of the summer Olympics to Australia, Brisbane is working on "green and gold" infrastructure projects during the 10 year lead up period to the games.

Some new "green bridges" will enable - and encourage - more pedestrians and cyclists to move around the city in an environmentally friendly manner.

Brisbane itself will be the location for 18 of the 32 events.

Almost certainly the Gabba will be redeveloped - again - and the projected cost could well exceed $1bn. This time the road network in the area may well be completely redesigned.

More details to follow.

Some Links:

Brisbane Master Plan

Christchurch will have its new multi-use arena and will pay for it, as far as Ashburton’s chief executive understands.

The Christchurch City Council voted to increase the budget for its multipurpose arena, Te Kaha, to $683 million, entering into a fixed price design and construction contract with lead contractor BESIX Watpac. Populus are bringing their stadium design expertise to the project.

The design will be suited to rectangular fields and it will have a capacity for between 25,000 and 30,000 people. The fixed truseed roof will enable an all weather environment.

See LINK for a more detailed project overview.

An artist’s impression of what Christchurch’s 30,000-seat covered stadium will look like.

An artist’s impression of what Christchurch’s 30,000-seat covered stadium will look like. (See )

More details expected (Aug 30 2022)

Jörg Schlaich (1934 – 4 September 2021) was a highly respected German engineer especially for his creative and elegant design of bridges, long-span roofs, and other innovative structures. In 1980 he was a co-founder of the consulting firm Schlaich Bergermann Partner based in Stuttgart.

Jörg Schlaich was one of a select group who studied both architecture and civil engineering at Stuttgart University and at Berlin from 1953 to 1959.

In 1963, he joined the firm Leonhardt & Andrä. He later became a partner where a highlight was being responsible for the Olympic Stadium in Munich. He stayed with the firm until 1969.

In 1974 he became an academic at Stuttgart University, before founding his own firm.

In terms of large span roof structures – of particular interest to LSAA members – he pioneered the concept of the “bicycle wheel” with an outer compression ring resisted the tension of radial cables coupled to an inner cable ring. This was used in 1993 with the Gottlieb-Daimler Stadium (later known as the Mercedes Benz Arena in Stuttgart. Another example was the main stadium in Kuala Lumpur for the 1998 Commonweath Games. Many recent stadia have adapted this principle.

The Norwegian Public Roads Administration is moving closer to creating a "ferry-free" highway.

The proposal comprises a 2km long suspension bridge (The Julsundet Bridge) with a main span of 1625m - to claim bragging rights by 1metre over the Great Belt Bridge in Denmark.

There is also proposed to have an extended subsea tunnel approximately 25km long when completed. This is claimed to be the World's longest road tunnel - the England to France Channel Tunnel is a rail tunnel about 50km in length. An existing 24.5 km road tunnel creates a ferry-free highway between Oslo and Bergen.

For further information - see "Bridgeweb Article

A short paper by Nicholas Goldsmith - (LSAA Keynote Speaker in 2016).

He reflects on a time in 1984 at a dinner with Walter Bird, Frei Otto and Ian Liddell and the path that textile architecture has taken in the US and Europe since that time.

Download a copy here

The ABCB has released a new document called the National Model Code of Conduct for Building Surveyors.

December 2020. It can be downloaded HERE

A relatively new book about the incredible legacy of physical models used for designing and understanding of lightweight structures has been published by Spector Books (part summary below from their website).

In the 1950s, Frei Otto’s tent structures left their mark on the horticultural shows of the new Bonn Republic; together with Behnisch & Partner he created the roof landscape for the Munich Olympic Games in 1972. The innovative potential in his work is based on the interdisciplinarity of a mode of thinking that took in architecture, technology, art, science, and society. He saw nature as a model and tried throughout his life to harness it for the sake of architecture and civil engineering — and thus also for the future.

An updated Second edition of AS 4174:2018 "Knitted and woven shade fabrics" has been released.

It replaces the first edition published in 1994.

The main contents are:

Section 1 Scope and General

Section 2 Horticultural Shade Protection Fabrics

Section 3 Human Shade Protection Fabrics

Appendices - 6 Appendices

[Update August 2019: There has been an Amendment No 1 issued with some revised wording and typo corrections]

The Second Annual Summit Conference being held in Melbourne from 25-26 June 2018 will be concentrating on the Fire Issues pertaining to dangerous cladding in particular.

Details of the event can be found at the following webpage, from which the text below is extracted with acknowledgement.

Event Details - Agenda and Booking

"2017 was a tragic turning point for the construction and safety industry with the Grenfell Tower fire in London. For Australia, it was a particularly sobering reminder of the narrowly avoided disaster at Melbourne’s Lacrosse Tower fire in 2014.

As governments, taskforces, regulators, and industry bodies continue to work together to ensure that no such tragedy happens again, the much broader discussion around non-compliant products and accountability has come into focus. In addition to the risks associated with some cladding products, the sector is coming under further scrutiny on topics such as glass, wiring and waterproofing."

There has been considerable backlash to the NSW State Government's proposal to demolish and re-build several stadiums in Sydney.

It would seem that the original decision to demolish the Sydney Olympic Stadium may have been done very hastily.

After some weeks, it would appear that a review of the decision is in order.

A recent article by ArchitectureAU can be found AT THIS LINK

A new (future) draft version of the NCC (National Construction Code) is now available for public comment. Comments are due by COB April 13 2018.

To view this document (in PDF format) you may need to login or register at the ABCB (Australian Building Codes Board) website

Of interest to many involved in lightweight structures, and in particular tension membrane structures, are the new requirements related to fire. These new requirements have been the result of a number of fatal fires in Australia and overseas. See this article for an interim report related to fires and cladding.

There are a number of product orientated "white papers" that may be of some interest to designers located HERE

To download, you have to give your contact details which may not appeal to all.

An Interim Report has now been published by the recently formed Victorian Cladding Taskforce. 

The taskforce follows the serious Lacrosse Building fire in Melbourne Docklands (November 2014) and later the Grenfell Tower disaster (71 fatalities, June 2017) in London (see Grenfell_Tower_fire ) involving the use of highly combustible cladding panels.

Prepared by the Tensile Membrane Structures Standards Committee of the Codes and Standards Activities Division of the Structural Engineering Institute of ASCE

Standard ASCE/SEI 55-16 provides minimum criteria for the analysis, design, and performance of membrane-covered cable and rigid member structures, collectively known as tensile membrane structures. It is applicable to both permanent and temporary structures.

Within CEN/TC 250/WG 5, CEN/TC 248/WG 4, the TensiNet Association and COST Action TU1303, an international team of researchers, engineers, architects, material producers and manufacturers has been working on this report, which provides background information in support of the implementation and development of a future Eurocode for the Structural Design of Tensile Membrane Structures.

Tensioned Membrane Structures have unique properties compared to the more conventional built environment. Besides their low self-weight and high flexibility these structures are known to be 'optimally' constructed, as they are only loaded in tension. It results in shapes adapted to the flow of forces and a minimum of material needed to realise the span.

Important revisions have taken place for fire detection and control in buildings across a number of Standards.

These set out the minimum requirements that should be in place during design and construction to ensure compliance.

Recent revisions include:

AS/NZS 1668.1:2015
The use of ventilation and air conditioning in buildings - Fire and smoke control in buildings

AS 1670.1:2015
Fire detection, warning, control and intercom systems - System design, installation and commissioning

AS 1670.4:2015
Fire detection, warning, control and intercom systems - System design, installation and commissioning - Emergency warning and intercom systems

Article added February 2016. For more information, see SAI Global website


The Australian Building Codes Board have recently published a new standard for Temporary Structures.

The LSAA contributed to its development. 

This Standard is intended for use in the design, construction and use of temporary structures. It provides criteria for structural safety (particularly determining appropriate wind actions), fire safety (including fire resistance of materials, fire safety services and equipment, and egress), access, sanitary facilities and certain ancillary provisions.

It is still open for adoption by particular State or Territory Authorities.

A copy may be found HERE

The famous German Engineer - Architect Frei Otto has been awarded the 2015 Pritzker Architecture Prize one day after his death.

Frei Otto was regarded as the most influential person to drive the modern move to adopt large span lightweight structures using fabrics, timber gridshells and cablenets.

He was very passionate about sharing his knowledge and ideas through the establishment of the Institute of Lightweight Structures at Stuggart University and hence its broad range of publications as well as a large number of students that spent time there.

Australian Standard for Swimming Pools

A new Australian Standard AS 1926.1-2012 "Swimming pool safety - Safety barriers for swimming pools" has just been released.

The objective of this Standard is to assist pool owners/users in avoiding pool-related drowning by providing design, construction and performance of various barrier options, which are designed to restrict entry to the swimming pool area by young children.

As LSAA members are often involved in the provision of shade structures to pools and playgrounds, this new standard may have some relevance.

Perth Stadium Design Approved

The new Perth $900 million 60,000 seat sports stadium design has been approved. The winning design team comprises Cox Architects, Hassell, HKS and Arup.

The following article appears on the WA Government's Perth Stadium website.

Of particular interest is the fabric roof and possible aspects of the "bronze facade".

Preferred bidder named for new Perth Stadium

Tuesday 15 April 2014

The contract to design, build, finance and maintain the new 60,000 seat Perth Stadium and Sports Precinct has reached another important milestone with the naming of WESTADIUM as the Preferred Respondent.

  • WESTADIUM is Preferred Respondent to build new Perth Stadium
  • All three bids were world-class and satisfied strict criteria
  • Negotiations to conclude mid-2014

Premier Colin Barnett said each of the three shortlisted private sector consortia submitted world-class bids that addressed the technical, operational and commercial requirements of the State’s Request For Proposals.

For this article and further information see: Perth Stadium Website or

Shady business: call for sun safety reform

Gaps expose childcare kids to poor shade design and installation.

A CHOICE investigation has uncovered gaping holes in the regulation of the shadecloth design and installation industry which potentially compromises the sun safety of childcare centres.

Even those centres certified as SunSmart by the voluntary Cancer Council Australia program may have unwittingly bought shadecloth with a low level of ultraviolet radiation (UVR) protection or had it incorrectly installed.

Viewers of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Concert held outside Buckingham Palace would have been impressed with the elegant tensioned fabric structure.

Minneapolis Dome Collapses

The pounding snow caused the roof of the 64,000-seat Metrodome in Minneapolis to "deflate" Sunday morning, Minnesota State Patrol spokesman Lt. Eric Roeske said. Workers wielding shovels could be seen clearing the roof of the heavy white stuff, while photos from inside the darkened stadium showed much of the field covered with snow that fell from a gaping hole in the dome.

TensileDraw: the Tensile Structure Software

TensileDraw is an AutoCAD and RHINO fully compatible and integrated plug-in software package developed in collaboration with Maffeis Engineering & Consulting. It can simulate well balanced force stress distribution on the membrane surface without complicating file exportation and related compatibility problems.

The great versatility of the application is most significant: it can calculate the form of complex geometry fabric structures thanks to the generation of a warp and weft beam mesh reproducing the orthotropic behaviour of fabric material.

The Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) has undertaken a review of historical and current criticisms of the Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) industry.
This report will be of interest to LSAA members dealing with PVC coated fabrics.
A copy of the GBCA report is at the following link: GBCA PVC Report.

International Design Competition for the new Japan National Stadium

A new stadium is being proposed by Japan Sport Council that aims to be the "greatest stadium".

There has been an International Design Competition for the new Japan National Stadium and a short list of 11 international design groups has been selected.

Two reasons for the new stadium are to boost Japan's bid to host the 2020 Olympics as well as the FIFA World Cup.

Flinders Street Station Design Competition

There are six groups who have been shortlisted for the next stage of the Design Competition for revamping Melbourne's iconic Flinders Street Station.

Most groups involve local and international firms. The next stage of the process is due to be completed in July 2013 after each group develops their design concepts further and have briefings with government departments.

More details can be found here.

America Cup Boats - The Ultimate Lightweight Structure?

The new catamaran boats used in the America Cup races are a true example of a lightweight structure and embody many elements that the design of normal tensioned fabric structures take into account.

The wind loading is critical for both and the structural form required to resist or to take advantage of the wind pressures is the key element to success.

Both use highly engineered modern materials that require optimization in terms of orientation, cutting patterns and seaming technology.

The more rigid components need to be optimized also to reduce weight whilst still maintaining structural stiffness.

Congratulations to the USA for winning but also to Team New Zealand for pushing the limits.

More details on the boat sizes and limitations can be found here

World's Most Iconic and Culturally Significant Stadium

The AAMI Stadium in Melbourne has been named as the "World's Most Iconic and Culturally Significant Stadium" at the Stadium World Congress 2012 in Doha.

The AAMI Stadium was also the overall winner of the 2011 LSAA Design Awards in the "Collaboration Category".

Cox Architecture and Arup Engineers developed the design of the 31,000 seat geodesic structure that acts as home for the Melbourne Storm, Melbourne Heart and Melbourne Victory sporting teams.

For more details of the structure, click HERE