THE CHALLENGE – CREATE A UNIQUE RELOCATABLE MAORI PAVILION FOR RUGBY WORLD CUP EVENTS
The Rugby World Cup presented an opportunity to give New Zealanders and overseas visitors a taste of traditional and contemporary Maori culture. To address this opportunity, the concept of “Waka Maori” was developed – a series of hospitality and cultural events held within a purpose-built venue that follows the form of a Maori waka (canoe). The venue was required to be versatile and relocatable, so that it would have a useful life beyond the Rugby World Cup.
THE SOLUTION – A 250-FOOT TENSION MEMBRANE WAKA ENCLOSING A COMPLETE ENTERTAINMENT VENUE
The Waka Maori management team consulted Structurflex to determine whether a tension membrane structure could be used to form the outer skin of the waka. We advised that polyester-reinforced coated PES would be possible, although very demanding; however, using tension membranes would speed the construction and installation of the structure. Structurflex was awarded the contract to design and build the complete outer shell including the timber and steel support structure. A highly translucent white coated PES was used for the roof of the waka, to provide a daylight experience without the uncomfortable effects of solar gain. The sides of the hull were fabricated in white blackout coated PES, to allow the clear projection of images on the hull’s inner surface. The tauihu (prow), taurapa (stern) and rauawa (gunwales) of the waka were finished in black coated PES, to create the traditional waka forms. The finished structure was a huge success during the 2011 Rugby World Cup, welcoming more than 250,000 visitors over a two-week period.