NGV Summer Pavilion – Structural Overview: John Bahoric

Pavilion Overview

Detail: Completed Pink Pavilion in the Grollo Equiset Garden, photo Carolyn McDowall

We are pleased to welcome John Bahoric to The Culture Concept Circle as a guest author: Spotlight Stories

John Bahoric engineered architectural outcomes on the NGV’s inaugural Summer Architectural Commission, the John Wardle Architects designed playful Pink Pavilion.

He describes in his own words how the design team surmounted the structural challenges to produce an outstanding outcome.

John Wardle (John Wardle Architects) has referenced an elegant and efficient structure in providing a nod to the Sidney Myer Music Bowl.

The SMMB was designed during a period of fantastic innovation. Many designers of the day were pushing the limits in material and form and were influencing architectural outcomes.

Ironically, our challenge around budget and time meant that we too had to be creative and open to various materials and forms.

The 2015 Summer Architecture Commission, the NGV Summer Pavilion represents a true synergy of building disciplines, whereby the structural expression and associated form, materiality and construction methodology are one and the same with the architecture.

Design team

John Bahoric (rear left) John Wardle (rear right) and colleagues on team being photographed in the Grollo Equiset Garden at the opening of the Pink Pavilion by John Wardle Architects, photo Carolyn McDowall

Each participant played a key role and comraderie, coupled with a “can do” approach, rose to the surface.

Engineer and architect worked with interplay in the development of a rational geometric shape.

This process tested materiality and structural sizing to provide a solution that is remarkably efficient, easy to build and deconstruct, and visually very exciting.

Much of the work was done using in house digital design tools

The grid shell is a two way arched surface, and our choice of shape and materials allows the individual members to work together as a single system.

The strength of the grid shell comes from its arching action (curvature), its rigid connections and member sizing and materiality.


Summer Architectural Commission, NGV International, Ground Level, Grollo Equiset Garden image courtesy National Gallery of Victoria 2015

The design process involved tracking the shape of the structure as it was loaded to failure in the virtual environment.

Paviliion 1The shape at failure contains information that tells us a lot about its stiffness and strength, and we used this information to calculate the size of each member and to finalise its form.

Pavilion 2Our design checks also included measuring deflections and dynamic behaviours under wind loads (ie would wind cause the structure to flutter?).

Upon completion of design, the digital file was handed over to the fabricator to enable for its speedy construction.

Pavilion 3This project was unique in so far as no drawings were produced by the architect nor engineer – all of our information was captured within the digital file.

The builder worked closely with the engineer to resolve connection details and fixity details to the garden slab structure.

Paviliion 4A trial assembly was done off site to ensure every piece could “fit” into place (like a meccano set) prior to reassembly on site.

Words & Images of Pavilion’s Structural Development ©John Bahoric, Guest Author, Spotlight Stories, The Culture Concept Circle, 2015

John Bahoric
director | structural design studio

Contact: [email protected]

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