museum

Location : Adelaide Hills Soaring Club airfield at Monarto
200m2 clear span semi monocoque building
steel portals, cladding with polycarbonate daylighting
concrete floor, Hebel curved end wall.


Emilis Prelgauskas - design elements The gliding club at Monarto has developed a museum. Emilis provided the inspiration for form and detail which influenced the brief.

Because this activity is not 'core business' for the amateur club, capital cost containment was a key issue. Using standard off-the-shelf parts, the ability to erect on-site with few personnel and even less machinery were all important considerations.
These parameters match well with several of the houses described on this web site. Similar solutions were invoked.

The site was a disused quarry. This was tidied up, old stone buried, new embankments squared up and a level base created. The site subsequently is undergoing intense revegetation.

A curved standard portal frame was procured. These are usually used for plastic fabric covered greenhouses. In this case the cladding was pre-curved steel sheet sourced from tank making. The portal frames could be erected by one person with props, and the sheets slid into place by 3 people, and Tek screwed into place.
The total structure as a semi-monocoque is reflective of efficient strong low weight airframe structures, and in its constructed form significantly stronger than the original use where the portals carry most of the load, whereas here the majority of the load (torsion, bending) is carried in the sheet surface.

The end wall was built in autoclave aerated concrete blockwork, glued together in place. To give stability, the wall was laid out a curved form in 2 interlocking quarter circles. This buttressed the wall in its own form without further bond beam, buttress, or reinforcing. The belief that AAC is crack prone was dealt with by building this infill wall on a stable sand bed rather than a footing.

Where the wall and roof curves meet, very comforting space form is created; and many visitors have commented on how pleasant the interior is.
A good example of achieving quality of built space created by design. In this case also very cost effective. ($80/sq.m. in 2000).

As the building is designated for daytime use only, it has no facilities and thus no services, daytime lighting was the critical issue.

The design has the portals set on the bench on its northern side, and on top of the embankment on the south side.
The result is a slight raising in the internal volume which allows a display wall to be included against the embankment on the south interior full length, with clear glazing full length directly above using horizontal polycarbonate sheet.

The main curved roof extends from near ground level on the north side to a slight eave overhang over the southern glazing.

Further general daylight was thought to be desirable. Thus 4 rows of tinted polycarbonate roof sheet were introduced as part of the curved roof form. The position of the curved translucent sheets was dictated by the internal display layout rather than to be symettrical or uniform externally.

These daylight sheets do permit direct heat load into the building, which the dark grey of the tint moderates about half. As temperature control was not a priority issue in this building, this solution was accepted for its simplicity and cost effectiveness. Some modification is created by vents set in the western wall, and exhaust paths by the eastern accesses.

The largest cost item was the 170m2 of concrete floor laid in one operation once the walls were created and before the roof went on.

Access to the building is on the eastern end with a PA door, and an occassional swing door which allows entry and exit for an 8 metre long mobile display trailer housed as part of the display. The internal display area created is large enough for several full airframes plus partial airframes and smaller display items from 1924 onward.


Stage 2

This project is being evolved to a long term strategy in individual steps. The overall goal is to secure local artefacts about the evolution of unpowered flight for longterm display. In this way later generations of interested enthusiasts and researchers can plot the changes and improvements in the technology and activities.

In 2005 Stage 2 of this project was constructed. Its main shell is located on top of the sandhill adjacent to the original museum building which seats in the quarry base below. To connect these, Stage 2 also includes a ‘docking station’ structure with its connecting walkway and steps between display areas.

The construction approach of the new 150m2 display area continues the methods trialled in Stage 1. Steel curved main portals with pier footings, and steel sheet shell cladding, over the concrete floor. In this new stage the sheeting was laid horizontal for simplicity in the knowledge that rainwater will pond on the curve top, complete with potential for leaks at fixings and joints.

The connecting docking station is composed by rolled circular steel sheets as a tunnel fixed down to the elevated walkway. These curved sheets are also seated within and fixed outward to the existing Stage 1 overarching portals as an exoskeleton which fixes the docking station in place.

Within the docking station, display boxes containing small individual sailplane components are displayed on the side walls.

Further Stages for the future are planned to further increase the available display area as later components and airframes are offered. These will extend westward along the sandhill from Stage 2.

Emilis Prelgauskas - design elements