Amazon Waterlily Pavilion, Adelaide, Australia

World's largest Amazon Waterlily Pavilion

The pavilion, housing the world's largest Amazon Waterlily, is a transparent glass structure performing the work ordinarily done by concrete and steel. In 2003, the South Australian government commissioned Aurecon, in partnership with Flightpath Architects, to design a new enclosure to replace the old Victorian style building that was housing the waterlily.

An 80 per cent glass structure, this extraordinary building challenged all involved from beginning to end. Ground-breaking solutions were called for including triple laminated glass columns with a load bearing capacity of 2.5 tonnes (an Australian first) and the customisation of every fitting.

Aurecon recognised that aluminium has a very high embodied energy when compared to steel and glass. Options for utilising structure steel supporting conventional aluminium framed glass systems were reviewed.

Joins and interfaces had to work within tolerances less than half a millimetre while appearing seamless and aesthetically pleasing. This attention to detail and precision included a global search for the perfectly engineered 4 millimetre screw, which was eventually located in Sweden.

The Amazon Waterlily Pavilion is a showcase of specialist structural engineering which combines cutting edge engineering design and detailing with inspirational aesthetics. The result was the use of glass in many different structural forms, including:

  • Glass roofs
  • Load bearing glass beams
  • Load bearing glass columns
  • Load bearing glass transfer beams
  • Load bearing glass walls

Aurecon's technical expertise also provided added value by upgrading the original specification to include self-cleaning glass. This resulted in lower maintenance costs and greater energy efficiency for the client.

Adelaide’s world-class public building is a stunning example of what can be achieved through Aurecon’s high-end architectural engineering expertise, attention to detail and teamwork.

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