Company: Blackwell

Project details

Fabric name: Sheerfill V
Fabric producer: Ferrari S.A.
Fabric supplier: Ferrari S.A.
Engineer: David Bowick, Blackwell
Design: Paul Treacy, Steffian Bradley
Architect: Rui Pontes da Costa, Aukett Swanke
Fabrication: Lincoln Gallagher, Soper’s Engineered Fabric Solutions
Subcontractor: Derek Penney, Depco
Project manager: Jonathan Darrell, BCM McAlpine Ltd.
Installation: James Gallagher, Tensile Integrity
Location: Bermuda
Photos: Tensile Integrity Inc., BCM McAlpine Ltd.

Please describe the project specifications.
The project involved the design, manufacture, and installation of five tensioned awnings and four free-standing fabric canopies on the site of the King Edward Memorial Hospital in Bermuda. Each of these structures was designed to provide environmental protection for the hospital occupants. A significant fabric canopy, measuring 28’x38’, is supported on a custom steel frame, hung from the reinforced concrete walls at the main entrance to the hospital. Four smaller awnings, measuring 7’x13’, 8’x15’, 12’x13’, and 8’x18’, respectively, are located above entry ways and connected to the exterior walls of the building. The free-standing canopy structures include a 27’x22’ shade structure for ambulance parking, and a 105’x33’ visitor parking shade structure. Both of these canopies are comprised of tensioned fabric panels supported on cantilevered steel beams. The custom steel beam sections were designed to transition smoothly into the central columns, creating elegant, monolithic frames. Two free-standing covered benches were designed to be fastened to the reinforced concrete roof of the hospital, providing both seating and shade for patients in a healing garden. Both of these structures, measuring 12’ long by 7’ wide by 10’ tall, consist of two custom cantilevered steel frames, clad with two tensioned fabric panels.

What was the purpose of this project? What did the client request?
The purpose of the project was to provide environmental protection for hospital occupants, by means of a light weight and durable design. The structures were required to be prefabricated for offshore transport and erection. The structures needed to withstand hurricane winds and be corrosion resistant for exposure to a harsh marine environment.

What is unique or complex about the project?
The most significant design challenges for this project were the hurricane force wind loads, the prefabrication requirement, and the corrosion resistance of the steel frames. All of the steel components are built up custom sections, allowing for an efficient and elegant design. The frames were designed to be transported offshore and easily erected onsite using bolted connections. A tremendous effort was exerted to make the sections airtight for corrosion protection. All components were seal welded in the shop. A high quality polysiloxane coating was applied to the structural steel for long-term weather durability.

What were the results of the project?
The structures were transported and installed successfully and on time. Shortly after the completion of the project, two significant hurricanes, Fay and Gonzalo, hit the island of Bermuda within a week of each other. Wind gusts of up to 144 mph were recorded during Gonzalo. The structures withstood the storms and no damage was noted, even when part of the roof collapsed in the old wing of the hospital and flooding occurred in the new wing.

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