The Cloud Canopy is a small urban intervention designed to improve the public amenity and presentation of Fed Square’s upper plaza. Conceived as part pragmatic shade structure and part fanciful ur...
The Cloud Canopy is a small urban intervention designed to improve the public amenity and presentation of Fed Square’s upper plaza. Conceived as part pragmatic shade structure and part fanciful urban sculpture, the canopy is a curious object nestled amongst the buildings of Federation Square.
A fully glazed roof is supported by a twisted honeycomb structure fabricated entirely from only 8mm thick steel plate. The inclined hexagonal plates also function as sun shading devices that provide almost complete shade in summer yet full sun penetration during winter. Despite only being a tiny addition to the urban fabric of Melbourne, the Cloud Canopy aims to demonstrate how a carefully crafted and responsive urban design can positively contribute to the public domain.
The design of the canopy is intimately related to its context. Surrounded by the striking facades of Fed Square, it was essential that the canopy remained completely freestanding, and did not create excessive visual bulk that dominated its setting. However instead of attempting to imitate the existing architectural language (or reduce its form to the point of obscurity), the Cloud Canopy presents a distinctly new object that is carefully attuned to its setting.
A crucial site condition that influenced the entire canopy was solar exposure. To maximise comfort levels across all seasons, the canopy needed to provide extensive shade in summer, while allowing full sun to penetrate during winter. Rather than add a secondary shading device to the canopy, an inclined honeycomb structural system was developed to achieve the precise sun control required