John Power Stand - Eagle Farm, Brisbane


Eagle Farm Racecourse is an iconic Brisbane building, hosting race days twice weekly and accommodating hoards of racegoers every year. The main stand named John Power Stand was erected in the early 1900s. Since then the structure has aged leaving an unsightly concrete ceiling viewable from the main observation area.


MakMax was engaged to supply a permeable ceiling structure to cover the concrete from view while allowing access for inspection purposes. This structure also needed to eliminate nesting areas for birds under the old roof. MakMax engineers used the perimeter or building as well as the support columns to sustain the fabric, although the outcome is much different to look at the principals of the structure is not unlike many conic structures.

The addition of this fabric ceiling gives John Power Stand a much needed facelift. Our client Watpac Speciality Services is very pleased with the result. 


John Power Stand had an issue with an old concrete deck that was deteriorating and dropping small chips of concrete onto patrons below. A PVC mesh membrane was proposed to stop these chips from falling into people and improve the appearance from below. Another reason to add the membrane ceiling was to remove nesting areas for birds, the aging grandstand had become home to a number of pigeons. By installing the ceiling structure there would be no place for a bird to nest let along stand in the area.


The membrane proposed perimeter mounted into the concrete grandstand. Fabric form was achieved by introducing conical features at every steel column. These conic shapes reduce membrane stresses under wind loading and create a more interesting, dynamic shape to compliment the grandstand. Valley cables were also introduced to manage fabric deflections in the flatter areas and provide additional fabric form.


Ferrari 392 mesh was chosen for this project for its light weight and durability, however, the most important aspects of this fabric were the high level of airflow it provided as well as its low maintenance. The 1,200sqm of fabric was sources locally within Australia from Innova International.


Being a simple PVC coated mesh the Ferrari 392 mesh fabric was high frequency welded in the Brisbane factory. Given the very close proximity to site, this was ideal. Using a smooth welding bar the seams on the completed structure are noticeable, the desiccion not to use a textured bar meant these seams are more prominent however the variance in texture adds a design quality to the overall aesthetics of the project.


The design for this ceiling structure was originally flat paneled and dull, however MakMax engineers saw potential in the support columns and decided to use these to create form. Our client, Watpac Specialty Projects were pleased with the addition of the subtle curves and highlighted seams creating a more interesting form which was originally born out of function only.


Project Number:              5004

Title:                                      John Power Stand

Location:                              Eagle Farm Racecourse, Eagle Farm, QLD, 4009

Entrant:                                MakMax

Role:                                      Design, Engineer, Fabricator, Installer

Client:                                   Brisbane Racing Club


Structural Engineer:        MakMax

Spec Consultant:              Fabspan Engineers


Builder:                                                Watpac


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