MakMax Australia

Project Details

Fabric 1

Tenara 4T40HF
Producer/Manufacturer: SEFAR AG, Architectural Fabrics
Primary Use: Main Fabric

Engineer Company 1
MakMax Australia

Architect Company
Make Architects & Cera Stribley Architects (CSA)

Fabrication Company
MakMak Australia

Subcontractor Company
Steelman Fabrication; Bespoke Wire & Rope; Skymaze

Project Manager Company
MakMax Australia

Installation Company
The Hickory Group; MakMax Australia

Please describe the project specifications

Designed to blur the lines between the retail, commercial and leisure zones of Chadstone’s high-end fashion shopping precinct with the newly opened Hotel Chadstone Melbourne MGallery by Sofitel, The Link transforms part of a multi-level car park into a cathedral-like promenade for shoppers and hotel guests.

Commissioned by leading Australian real estate investment trust Vicinity Centres, and completed in October 2019, The Link is a 100m arched walkway that soars up to 15m above the pedestrian zone and covered with 1750m2 of high-translucency THV coated PTFE fabric.

The designing architect’s vision was to complement Chadstone Shopping Centre’s existing vaulted glass roof with an iconic structure made created with glulam timber arches, covered with a semi-translucent tensile fabric membrane.

The design and engineering we challenge faced by on The Link was to deliver a premium tensile membrane finish to complement the projects’ luxury look and feel. With the aim to link the new 5-star Hotel Chadstone to the Chadstone Shopping Mall – the membrane finish had to complement the high-end, luxurious aesthetic of the project.

Chosen for it high-strength and pliable ePTFE fibres to optimise light transmission and diffusion, the 1750m2 of high-translucency Sefar Tenara 4T40HF THV coated PTFE canopy protects customers, guests and visitors from the weather, while still providing a light, airy and inviting pedestrian walkway.

A strong design focus was made to the membrane detailing, ensuring all fixings were minimal and discreet, while still offering the strength and flexibility required for installation. This task was made more difficult by the multi-planar fixing surfaces each glulam leg provided and the restrictions of fixing to glulam itself. The resulting details look light and inconspicuous, fitting in with the language of the rest of the design.

Having limited site-access was a challenge overcome in the installation phase. The structure needed to be integrated into the existing (and operational) premium shopping centre and required being constructed directly on top of several layers of basement.

The breathtaking visual effect that results from the high-translucency fabric and light finish of the glulam timber, provides an incredible sense of openness, while maintaining architectural continuity between the hotel and the mall. The high transverse arches create an almost cathedral-like nave that draws pedestrians along and upwards via a series of escalators into the alter of Melbourne’s Fashion Capital, Chadstone.

What is unique or complex about the project?

Matching the luxury ethos of Chadstone Shopping Mall, known as Melbourne’s Fashion Capital, the Link walkway project was designed to be a beautiful example of modern urban architecture. The Link truly elevates the experience of shoppers and hotel guests who use the walkway with its high-quality, luxurious materials and workmanship.

Making full use of the versatility, light weight and architectural possibilities offered by tensioned membranes, we were thrilled and excited to be able to work on such a unique project. The opportunity to design, engineer, fabricate and install a piece of elegant architecture, and really push the high-end look and feel that tensioned membranes can deliver, led to this being one of our favourite projects in the past 2 years and a wonderful addition to our portfolio.

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