Grimshaw Architects Installation - Vivid Sydney 2013
Telecommunication Shroud Cover
Can you make a telecommunications tower disappear? For this client the answer was yes. This project required:
Hiding an unsightly pre-existing steel structure
Making the solution elegant and highly functional
Ability to withstand high winds
Solution needed to be RF transparent
Location: Canterbury, NSW
The specific function of the telecommunications receptors, along with the fact the issue was pre-existing, made this project complex and the solution unique.
Most solid materials and some PVCs prevent RF transparency. Any solution we provided had to be both visually opaque and not reduce the strength of mobile signals.
The second area of complexity was the location in an extremely high-wind area. The pre-existing steel frame was already fabricated and engineered without allowing for additional side wind loading.
The third layer of complexity was considering the above factors and still arriving at a solution that was attractive as well as highly functional.
We built a model in our software of the existing steel structure to simulate a tension membrane cover and modeled severe wind loads, cross-referenced with Australian building code. This led to us re-engineering the pre-existing structure with additional bracing.
We designed and conducted a series of fabric tests specifically related to opacity and signal strength in order to select the most appropriate fabric.
Our manufacture and installation of the shroud cover included full modelling and reactions calculations, connection detailing, fabrication of anchor plates and skins, engineering certification of specialist tension membrane fabric track and fittings, and 132m2 of PVC shrouding with Keder edges and reinforcement patches.
Complaints from neighbours about ugly sight lines and damaged property values ceased and all telecommunications companies who use this site’s receptors have reported no loss of signal. These were the two main concerns the project needed to address.