Primary Industries Pavilion World Expo 88
Location: World Expo 88; Brisbane QLD
Completion Date: 1988
In the mid-1980’s, Mike Lester, a civil and structural engineer with a background in mining was working for a small consulting engineering practice in Brisbane. With the upcoming World Expo 88 coming to Brisbane, and opportunity arose to help built an iconic structure on the site at the Primary Industries Pavilion.
The architectural design of the Primary Industries Pavilion proposed a 30m-high membrane and cable structure to represent the iconic Australia grain silo as the major feature of the exhibit. With no previous experience with membrane structures, Mike applied all his structural engineering knowledge to the task and created the iconic blue and yellow striped grain silo which could be seen from much of the World Expo 88 site.
The Expo structure was a success. It was relocated to the country town of Biloela 700km north of Brisbane soon after Expo and is still standing there more than 35 years later – the ‘Bilo Silo’ sits proudly behind the Biloela Heritage Centre.
“Just about the entire expo site was covered with large structures to provide shade and shelter to Expo visitors and our pavilion was relatively small in comparison but would be Australian made like the industries it represented. The success of the Silo Structure led to more membrane structure work coming through the door and by 1990 this had become a large part of the consultancy’s structural workload. My journey into creating architectural fabric structures had begun.” Mike Lester.