The Play Hive
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Year of construction
Function of building
Entertainment & recreation
Degree of enclosure
Fully enclosed structure
Tropical - hot and wet all year
Number of layers
Type of application of the membrane
Primary function of the tensile structure
- Rain protection
ETFE foil cushions offer extremely high levels of light transmission and transparency so when the client at The Hive demanded high levels of natural light and a view of the sky, ETFE was the obvious choice.
Covering the central area of a pioneering imaginative play space, the ETFE cushion roof is designed to be as visually unobtrusive as possible. The building is nestled in the natural environment of a country park and aims to retain the feeling of an outdoor space despite being fully enclosed and weatherproof. Four themed play spaces all converge at multiple levels in the centre where the ETFE cushion rooflight is the centre piece.
Spanning 24m diameter, the ETFE cushion roof is made up of a two individual inflated ETFE cushions; a 5m diameter central circle and a huge halo around the outside. ETFE foil cushions of this scale are very unusual; whilst not impossible, they do pose some challenges. However, the desired design aesthetic was for maximum light and minimal structure so the Architen design team set about looking at the structural challenges and how to overcome them. The result is that the 24m diameter cushion is supported by 10mm cables on the top and bottom surfaces give extra support to the ETFE foil and help it to withstand wind and snow loads. In addition, the ETFE cushion roof is cleverly supported in the centre by the 33 foot tower and spiral slide which gives the ETFE roof minimal visual impact and maximum feeling of light and space.
Description of the environmental conditions
Material of the cover
Main dimensions and form
Duration of use