Aquinas College

PVC Hip Structure

This Hip structure gives Aquinas College full use of their courtyard and multi purpose area using waterproof and 100% UV block PVC fabric. The white finish for both the steel and fabric ensures the space is open, airy and maintains the outdoors feel.

No gutters or stormwater handling required, due to catenary edges.

Courtyard, Multi Use area

22m x 22m on 6 posts

Colorbond Surfmist

Mehler FR900-N in White

The existing fabric structure at Aquinas College had problematic ‘waterproof’ shade fabric (pictured below). The fabric had the weight and tension of shade cloth but with a waterproof coating. It was sewn, which meant it had holes in the seams (causing leaks), and also it needed to be installed in a particular way to avoid UV damage to the laminated coating. Unfortunately, this trapped water in the shade cloth and led to very rapid build-up of mould. The college needed a design and construct partner who could remove the existing structure and replace it with a correctly engineered waterproof structure.

As the existing structure had been engineered for shade fabric only (not waterproof PVC), it needed to be removed. However, the structure was located in a courtyard surrounded by buildings, and this meant very tight access for machinery, and limited working space. On top of this, the footings hit rock and larger equipment was needed to drill through.

We designed and built a new waterproof structure covering the same footprint but with a suitably engineered frame and proper PVC waterproof membrane. To overcome the access issue, the team craned the existing structure out, the rock coring machine in, and then the new structure – all over the top of the existing two-story school buildings.

The college now has a low maintenance structure which provides a light and bright courtyard giving the college a waterproof, sun-safe facility that is usable all year round. The structure doesn’t require any artificial lighting during the day, due to the use of PVC Fabric which allows around 9% light transmission. The outcome is a healthier, safer, and more attractive courtyard!

Who worked on this project?