Designed to blur the lines between the retail, commercial and leisure zones of Chadstone’s high-end fashion shopping precinct with the newly opened Hotel Chadstone Melbourne, MGallery by Sofitel, The Link transforms part of a multi-level car park into a cathedral-like promenade for shoppers and hotel guests.
The designing architect’s vision was to complement Chadstone Shopping Centre’s existing vaulted glass roof with an iconic structure made created with glulam timber arches, covered with a semi-translucent tensile fabric membrane.
The design and engineering challenge faced by MakMax Australia on The Link was to deliver a premium tensile membrane finish to complement the projects’ luxury look and feel. With the aim to link the new 5-star Hotel Chadstone to the Chadstone Shopping Mall – the membrane finish had to complement the high-end, luxurious aesthetic of the project.
A strong design focus was made to the membrane detailing, ensuring all fixings were minimal and discreet, while still offering the strength and flexibility required for installation. This task was made more difficult by the multi-planar fixing surfaces each glulam leg provided and the restrictions of fixing to glulam itself. The resulting details look light and inconspicuous, fitting in with the language of the rest of the design.
Having limited site-access was a challenge overcome in the installation phase. The structure needed to be integrated into the existing (and operational) premium shopping centre and required being constructed directly on top of several layers of basement.
The 100m walkway reaches up to 15m high and is covered with 1750m2 of high-translucency THV coated PTFE fabric. Chosen for it high-strength and pliable ePTFE fibres to optimise light transmission and diffusion, the tensile fabric membrane protects customers, guests and visitors from the weather, while still connecting them to the environment.
The breathtaking visual effect that results from the high-translucency fabric and light finish of the glulam timber, provides an incredible sense of openness, while maintaining architectural continuity between the hotel and the mall. The high transverse arches create an almost cathedral-like nave that draws pedestrians along and upwards via a series of escalators into the alter of Melbourne’s Fashion Capital, Chadstone.
The Link was a fantastic project to be involved in and real pleasure to see come to life. The finished structure is visually incredible, perfectly combining our high translucency fabric, with light timber framing to deliver a truly unique structure. MakMax Australia was recognised with an Specialised Textiles Association Award for Excellence for the fabric work on this project, and this is a testament to the MakMax team who collaborated on the project from concept through to construction, turning the architects vision into a stunning reality.