Memorial Drive Tennis Centre Canopy
Location: Memorial Drive Tennis Centre, SA
Completion Date: November 2019
Size: 5800 sqm
Fabric: PTFE - Chukoh FGT800
Client: Tennis Australia
Photography: © Peter E Barnes
MakMax Australia was contracted to design and construct the Memorial Drive Tennis Centre Canopy, a large-span translucent roof covering the heritage-listed tennis courts at Adelaide’s Memorial Drive Tennis Centre. The 5800m2 centre court canopy at the Adelaide Tennis Centre, completed in November 2019, is a highly visible feature of the Adelaide skyline.
The Memorial Drive Redevelopment Project was tasked with ensuring the future configuration of the Adelaide Tennis Centre complex met South Australia’s sporting and entertainment needs. Stage One of the project called for a new tensile membrane fabric roof to cover the existing stands and centre court.
The Memorial Drive Tennis Centre Canopy is a PTFE membrane roof that protects patrons in permanent seating and temporary movable seating areas, as well as covering the corporate function event areas installed around the centre court for major tournaments.
The addition of the Memorial Drive Tennis Centre Canopy allows international tournaments to be played during the day or at night and is designed to be a showpiece that ensures Adelaide a place on the international tennis stage for the long term. The highly visible nature of the roof required attention to detail in finish quality with premium fixing details integrated into the design to enhance the overall result. In addition to this, all works had to be in keeping with the architectural style of the sports and entertainment precinct and heritage buildings.
One of the standout aspects of the Memorial Drive Tennis Centre Canopy is its incredible long span, supported only by four perimeter columns. This presented a manufacturing and installation challenge with fabric panels in excess of 60m long. Special methods were developed to incrementally package and wrap panels as they were being fabricated as panels were larger than available factory floor space. The weight of the manufactured panels and the deployment position from the apex of the arch required a novel temporary works solution that could unwind the fabric panels downhill at a controlled speed to prevent damage or panel loss.
One of the main challenges to overcome on the project was the roofing structure had to have sufficient fall to avoid water ponding on the wide fabric sections and allowed for adequate drainage. The final design was a collaboration between the roof designer and the architect to develop the most efficient design geometry, while ensuring that the visible rainwater sumps were not detrimental to the overall design.
The fabric panels were created using high translucency PTFE coated fibreglass and are supported by painted steel beams. PTFE coated glass fibre fabric is a dynamic tensile material unmatched for its aesthetics and durability, making it the ideal product for Memorial Drive’s roof and shade structures.
The fabric panels were up to 18m long and were transported to site across the country using custom designed jigs that could fit to oversize transport units. The jigs were designed to minimise waste, they were able to be flat packed for easy return to the factory to enable use for the next delivery.
The Memorial Drive Tennis Centre Canopy project was completed on time and under budget to a great reception from the crowds at the 2020 Adelaide International. The highly translucent canopy creates a visually exciting fabric structure visible to both patrons on site and the wider global media audiences. The weatherproof protection given to clients enhances the tennis experience for both day and night visitors.
In a post on the Adelaide International website, it was stated; “Players particularly enjoyed the facilities at the revamped Memorial Drive Tennis Centre, and gave props to the fabric canopy roof on centre court, that kept them in the shade while still maintaining an outdoor feel.”