Macquarie University Arts Precinct ETFE Roof

Macquarie University Arts Precinct ETFE Roof

A modern lightweight translucent roof connects together the Macquarie University Arts Precinct building.The ETFE roof covers the top floor roof gardens of two buildings as well forming an internal atrium in the middle of the arts precinct buildings.

The Brief

The design was intended to allow a large amount of natural light through into the deep atriums ensuring that the ground level plaza spaces felt bright and airy. At the upper terrace levels, the building design called for a light-filled terrace with plants and vegetation to provide an internal garden space for students and faculty. ETFE’s excellent light transmission and transparency to UV was perfect for this brief.

The Concept

The primary structural engineer, in conjunction with the project architect, had designed highly aesthetic cigar trusses to span the open atria space between major truss elements that also reticulated roof-water drainage through box gutters. Integrating our proprietary TensoSkyTM ETFE extrusion systems into these cigar trusses in a manner that did not detract from the architectural intent was a key challenge and required a non-standard fixing detail.

Keeping air supply lines hidden from sight was a key architectural requirement which required a lot of thought due to the large coverage of roof and few areas to hide service conduits. A complex air distribution piping network had to be designed, giving special attention to the location of pressure monitoring sensors within the conduit system.

The Materials

For this project Japanese-made AGC Fluon® film was chosen, an entirely clear ETFE film. The MakMax team undertook detailed analysis to specify the required foil thicknesses for the site wind-speeds, relying on wind tunnel testing to evaluate the peak pressure loads. Using advanced form find techniques the 2D shapes required to create a 3D cushion were designed and sent to our factory where the final cushions could be fabricated.

The cushions themselves are supported by one of our proprietary aluminium extrusion systems with an integrated gasket clamping system to maintain pressure and water tightness at all joints.

The Result

The Macquarie University Arts Precinct ETFE roof is an incredibly light structure that thanks to its transparency, enhances the other elements of the building, such as the stunning roof garden and open-air atrium. The whole build was delivered with an extremely high standard of architecture and the ETFE roof looks like a floating crown, capping off a great project. We are delighted to have played a small part in a fantastic project.

Project Details

Location: Macquarie Park, Sydney

Completion Date: 2020

Size: 2000 sqm

Fabric: ETFE - AGC Fluon® (clear)

Client: Lipman Pty. Ltd.

Photography: © Luke Zeme