Fabric Structure.

1000 Lakeside at North Harbour Business Park in Portsmouth has become popular with businesses expanding into larger premises or relocating to a more salubrious location. Two pavilions have been added to provide a retail hub for the 4,000 office workers and Fabric Architecture were commissioned to design a tensile fabric structure to cover the area between the new units.

The challenge.

The architect’s vision for irregular masts and off set conic heads made this project an interesting challenge for our in-house engineering team. The new development is in a prominent site and forms an exciting extension to the busy 1000 Lakeside building’s atrium, so the fabric structure needed to make a bold statement as well as providing practical shade and shelter to retailers, staff and visitors.

Lakeside is a beautifully landscaped site with walkways and waterside decked seating areas. Other new facilities include a Day Nursery, restaurants, parking and conference rooms. The fabric structure is an architectural centerpiece and as one employee said it “sits above the new development like the icing on the cake!”.

The solution.

Standing 13m high, the four-coned canopy is 47m long and spans 16m. Due to its size and relatively coastal location we used a heavy duty Type 3 architectural fabric. Steel tie rods are fitted around the perimeter of the canopy, running between the ends of the steelwork for extra stability. To allow as much natural light as possible into the retail zone we used transparent polycarbonate instead of traditional head caps at the top of each fabric cone.

Two cranes, working in tandem, were used to lift and install the fabric canopy in one piece. This could only be done in calm conditions and luckily for us the weather held. Powered Access Booms (cherry pickers) enabled the team to reach up through the maze of steelwork and connect the fabric. The canopy drains onto the 2 buildings below and we fitted fabric water diverters to direct water run-off towards catchment areas on the flat roofs.