North Melbourne Circle Shade Structures
Location: North Melbourne Primary School, VIC
Completion Date: June 2023
Size: 312 sqm
Fabric: PVC Mesh - Serge Ferrari FV381 (Printed)
Client: ARM Architecture / Hansen Yunken
Photography: © John Gollings
The North Melbourne Circle Shade Structures transcend the boundaries of conventional school shade structure design. The three bright orange circular structures are adorned with 66 printed PVC mesh panels on each structure, securely attached to a tensioned stainless steel cable grid. Designed to let sunlight weave its way through the artistic mesh and cast enchanting shadows upon the school playground below, these captivating shade structures create a joyful interplay of light and shade.
The North Melbourne Primary School Molesworth Street Campus is a new multi-tiered primary school that caters to children from Prep to Grade 2, offering a diverse range of learning opportunities. Designed by ARM Architecture, the new campus boasts well-equipped classrooms, dedicated areas for arts, STEM activities, an enchanting kitchen garden, and ample indoor and outdoor play spaces. Additionally, the school has a specially designed rooftop early learning environment exclusively reserved for their kinder students, ensuring their safety and enjoyment.
Designed to provide shade elements and protect three different play areas, on three different levels of the ‘vertical’ school campus, ARM Architecture proposed a series of matching 11.5m diameter circular shade structures.
The North Melbourne Circle Shade Structures boast an innovative architectural design that seamlessly blends aesthetics with functionality. The cables are meticulously arranged in a square grid pattern, with each fully square section securing a 1m x 1m shade panel, ensuring optimal coverage.
A standout feature of this project is the captivating color scheme and wavy dotted design, which is reflected throughout the entire building’s façade elements. ARM architecture provided the design in an EPS format, and MakMax then divided the striking orange and black artwork into the 66 individual 1m x 1m sections, ready to be printed onto the high-quality Serge Ferrari FV381 printable mesh fabric.
The fabric chosen, Serge Ferrari FV381 is a printable PVC mesh shade fabric. For the printing onto the fabric, we used expert architectural textile printers, Printable, based in the Netherlands.
The challenge was to be able to split the provided design into 66 panels with enough printed bleed to in order to cut and fabricate the panels with a rope edge. The panels had to fit back together again into a continuous design during installation. To assist the riggers, we identified and printed an alpha-numeric signifier on the unseen folded corner of each fabric panel so that they could be easily installed in the correct order.
The sleek and modern design features a grid of durable G316 (Marine-grade) stainless steel cables, arranged to support a shading system that provides protection for students from the sun’s harsh rays. Each shade structure required over 150m of 6mm cable, plus 258 cross clamps to secure the cables into a grid. The structures were installed by our local rigging specialist – Bespoke Wire & Rope.
The North Melbourne Circle Shade Structures not only add an eye-catching element to the new school campus, but also offer a practical and sun-safe solution, creating comfortable and shaded spaces for the students to enjoy the outdoor play spaces.