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Roof that’s “unlike anything else in the world!”

A retractable roof that’s “unlike anything else in the world!”


The vision of creating a retractable roof for the Plaza at the Hawke’s Bay Opera House in Hastings has become a reality thanks to fundraising initiatives and local know how and will be shown off at a community Open Day between 10am to 3pm on Saturday 17 November.     

This achievement is the culmination of a five year programme of restoration and renewal for the re-vitalised Hawke’s Bay Opera House.

When Roger Shand of Shand Shelton Architects had developed his design for the innovative retractable roof that was to be placed across a 380 square meter area, he chose to work with local Hastings firms to design and build it.

LHT provided the structural engineering, Patton Engineering drew the detailed drawings and constructed it using Best Forsyth for electrics and Hydraulink on the hydraulics. Piper and Co from Napier were chosen to complete the fabric coverings.

Construction commenced and a unique retractable roof was produced. A celebration of local engineering and an example of structural creativity and expertise pushed to the limits, the creation is an ambitious free standing structure unlike anything else in the world.

All of the team embraced the concept and contributed to ensuring it would work. Each component an invention or innovation in its own right,” said Roger Shand.

The technical challenges of the project were vast: three giant steel trusses, each weighing up to seven tonnes, curve majestically across the glassed-in Plaza. Together they are a jigsaw of 400 intricately-angled connections. Glass ‘fronds’ suspended from the trusses form the curved gutters to the fabric roof

Design engineer Glenn Rees managed the retractable roof project for Patton Engineering and was instrumental in producing solutions to the mechanising of the opening and closing  sequence for the roof.

Roger and Glenn worked closely to produce the design aesthetic required while still meeting the structural demands.

Glenn Rees said “The secret to success with such a unique job, was carefully planning every element before any work was started and thinking outside the square to overcome technical challenges.”

While there are plenty of existing techniques for fabric roofs internationally, none existed for a roof that would readily open and close, so both architect and the engineers were in an entirely new design and manufacturing territory.

The roof will be a highlight at the community Open Day at the Hawke’s Bay Opera House, where there will also be hundreds of performers through the entire facility putting on a variety of displays for everyone to enjoy.

Sally Jackson, Business, Arts and Tourism Marketing Manager for the Hastings District Council, reported “On show and FREE for everyone to enjoy will be stilt walkers, schools, bands, cultural groups, musicians of all types, marching girls, story tellers, face painters and food created by the new on-site bar and eatery the Opera Kitchen. Everyone is welcome to come and view and enjoy.”

The community Open Day is between 10am to 3pm on Saturday 17 November 2007.








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