Patton Engineering won a national award for its work on the Hawke’s Bay Opera House’s arched retractable plaza roof.The award was for the ‘Buildings up to three Storeys’ category at the inaugural Steel Construction New Zealand (SCNZ) ‘Excellence in Steel Construction’ awards. The award recognises excellence in steel fabrication, construction, innovation, sustainability, teamwork, safety and best practice.
The arched roof has been dubbed an architects dream but an engineer’s nightmare. However Managing Director Mike Patton said the firm enjoyed unique one off challenges such as the roof. “It’s a highly visible and high profile building and one that the entire team can be proud of being a part of,” Mike said. The roof, which covers the 27 metre long plaza courtyard adjacent to the Hawke’s Bay Opera House, was an integral part of the full-scale restoration and refurbishment of this iconic Hastings Building. The Architects vision for this part of the Opera House make over was for a mechanical opening roof structure that retained the openness of the plaza while making it an all-weather venue. Hastings mayor Lawrence Yule said a worldwide search for an engineering firm that could construct the roof eventually led the council back to its own district. “It turns out that, right on our doorstep we have some of the best brains, the best engineering and the best technology in the world.”
“The architects had all the ideas and these guys transformed them into reality. It had to work but it had to look good too,” Mr Yule said. The end result is a ‘tri-truss’ structure over the courtyard that supports a lightweight retractable roof. The roof material is made from a high tech PVC sail material, and is able to be retracted to a central point with relative ease. Each truss weighs six tonnes, and they are 12 metres high above the plaza.
As project managers Patton Engineering were heavily involved in the design process, along with being responsible for the construction, finishing, transportation and installation of the trusses. In addition to this, they were also responsible for design and construction of the mechanical components.