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Nerang State School
Nerang State School

Nerang State School


This project was entered in the LSAA 2011 Design Awards (Cat 1, 1017) 


Playground Shade Structure: the amphitheatre provides a modern sheltered assembly area for students and teachers, and boasts a unique architectural focal point within the school.


As part of the Queensland Government National School Pride Program, a project was created for the design and construction of twin architectural roof canopies to cover the Nerang State School outdoor amphitheatre.



Key elements of the design brief included:

• Structures were designed to cover both the stage and the audience steps

• The main area had to be completely covered

• Views had to be maintained between the canopy and the amphitheatre stairs

• Provide all‐weather protection for the students of Nerang State School

• Complete installation had to be achieved during the summer school holiday period so as not to interrupt students during construction


The 216m2 project involved the custom design and construction of an outdoor amphitheater comprising of two membrane cantilever canopy structures at Nerang State High School in QLD, Australia.

Each structure was designed to cover both the stage and audience steps separately but had to maintain complete coverage of the main area. This was achieved by designing the front edge of the upper canopy to allow rain water to flow onto the lower canopy and drain to the back of the stage area. A secondary design element was achieved by allowing views to be maintained between the canopies from the amphitheatre stairs; the twin architectural cantilever canopies had lightweight structural framing from above to provide clean lines beneath.

Both fabric structures were designed as fully cantilevered structures with the curved rafters sculpting the fabric into a barrel vault form. The larger upper canopy of the two structures was very complex due to the radial set out and 3D form of the structure. Sheet metal anti‐climbing collars were also fitted as an added extra safety measure.


The structural stability was achieved by designing a curved steel support frame braced with stainless steel cables and steel struts.  Deep bored pier concrete footings with pile caps coordinated into the overall amphitheatre’s stair concrete design were required to resist the cantilever footing loads from the structure. The amphitheater was constructed by excavating into a bank which required careful planning to ensure the correct levels were achieved.


The fabric used for the structures was Premium Ferrari 702s PVC Polyester supplied by Ferrari fabrics; structural steel CHS members hot dipped galvanized, stainless steel cables and fittings.


The outdoor amphitheatre was expertly constructed using two lightweight steel cantilever roof canopies clad in Ferrari 702S PVC membrane. The frame was made from structural steel and was hot dip galvanized and coated. The structures were developed with Stainless brace cables and CHS struts incorporated into the final design, thus ensuring correct tensioning of the membranes and increased stability of the structures.


We organized the construction and fabric installation of the two membrane canopy structures. The project was executed with detailed precision and the final form perfectly matched the architects’ original concept.

Installation was during school holidays so there was only a small window to make sure that the design, procurement, fabrication and delivery to site was timed correctly. The structures where competed on time.

Collaboration of the footing pads/piers with the concrete design of the amphitheatre to ensure the correct set‐ out and levels where achieved was critical. The depth of the footings required countering the cantilever loads also contributed to careful consideration and investigation to minimize the risk of interfering an underground services that where present and plentiful. No issues where encountered due to planning and coordination with other trades and consultants engaged.


Project Number: 1017

Title: Nerang State School Outdoor Amphitheatre

Location: Nerang, Qld

Entrant: Fabritecture Pty Ltd

Role: D&C, PM

Client: Nerang State High

Architect: Lightwave Architecture

Structural Engineer: Alliance Design Group Engineers

Builder: Fabritecture and JVJ Constructions

Fabricator: Fabric Structure Systems

Steelwork etc: Steelworks