Design a centre-court roof that will provide all weather shelter for both athletes and spectators without casting distracting shadows or reducing natural light. With the Brisbane international being staged in midsummer, it was imperative to allow a high degree of air circulation that would help reduce thermal transmission. Plus, being on the world stage it had to demonstrate an advanced approach to sustainability and an outstanding sense of aesthetics.
HPA, local award-winning architects, created a stunning balance of romance and reality. The floaty design is cost and energy efficient, durable, fire resistant and above all – beautiful. The sculptured effect of the three sectors cleverly directs the viewers eyes to the centre court. By attaching the roof structure to just four columns, the architects were able to create the floating effect that promised cool shade with abundant air and soft natural light.
High translucency PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene) glass fibre fabric was chosen for its combination of tensile strength and high light transmission – Sheerfill II transmits 16% of light without Ultra Violet. The fabric contributes to a significant improvement in energy efficiency with reduced demands on electricity due to maximised natural lighting. The material is known for its ability to cover a large area with minimal use of structural support and due to its remarkable properties, it can last more than 30 years, reducing the need for repairs or replacement often required by traditional materials.
While it took just over 4 weeks to install the entire roof, its impact will continue for many years to come. Now named the Pat Rafter Arena, the centre has attracted accolades and compliments from many of the international and local athletes and visiting professionals who comment on its stunningly simple beauty – not to mention the vastly improved conditions for player and spectator alike.