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To support the soaring ETFE canopy that floats above Eden Park, a custom steel framework was manufactured and installed by Culham Engineering
View of the ETFE canopy of Eden Park architecture, daylighting, roof, sky, structure, gray
View of the ETFE canopy of Eden Park which features steel framework by Culham Engineering.

Whether viewed from a distance or close up, the large translucent canopy that wraps the Eden Park stadium is a defining architectural element. Its uniqueness extends to the custom steel framework required to support the air-filled ETFE pillows.

The steelwork was manufactured and installed by Culham Engineering, a company that specialises in custom heavy engineering fabrication. General manager Rob Kirwan says the project was technically challenging, and a first for all those involved.

"We were contracted by Fletcher very early in the process, so our surveyors could work with the engineers and architects on the design," he says. "There was virtually no tolerance, so the working drawings had to be extremely accurate."


View of the ETFE canopy of Eden Park architecture, building, commercial building, corporate headquarters, daylighting, daytime, facade, headquarters, line, sky, structure, gray, blue
View of the ETFE canopy of Eden Park which features steel framework by Culham Engineering.

Kirwan says the biggest challenge was converting the drawings to fabrication.

"Nothing was straight. The steel curved in two or three different directions, which made it a very time-consuming process. The structure also involved more than 7000 cleats, all of different angles and varying sizes."

Kirwan says the steelwork was fabricated in large sections at the company's Whangarei factory, and shipped to Auckland overnight.

View of the ETFE canopy of Eden Park architecture, building, daylighting, daytime, glass, line, sky, structure, symmetry, gray
View of the ETFE canopy of Eden Park which features steel framework by Culham Engineering.

"The large assemblies were then erected on site, and it was especially pleasing to see that everything fitted exactly as planned, which is a testament to the collaborative work of all the companies involved at the design stage."

For details, contact Culham Engineering Co, 15-17 Hewlett St, PO Box 660, Whangarei 0140, phone (09) 438 7145, fax (09) 438 2848. Email: rob@culham.co.nz. Website: www.culham.co.nz.

Nov 22, 2010
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