Gardiner compares the 47 silver panels that form the roof to the segments of a globe that can be spread flat but make a curved shape when assembled. To form them, Compmillennia built two 48-inch x 28-foot camber molds. Using a lofting process, workers cut out full-sized panel sections from heavy floor paper, then laid out the edges of each panel following the dimensions of the patterns.
The roof panels were manufactured using a clear gel coat, metallic silver gel coat, 1½-ounce chopped strand mat and two layers of 32-ounce, 0°/90° stitched biaxial fiberglass. Each section took a day to complete, although several smaller sections could be molded at the same time.
Compmillennia also fabricated the individual supporting FRP ribs for the structure. As panels were completed, Gardiner’s crews began constructing the sections on a box steel ladder frame. They used fiberglass laminate clips to mate the end walls to the frames and to attach the curved silver roof panels. The two completed sections were fitted but not bonded together before being transported on trailers to the Union Station site.
Crews had a four- to six-hour window in the middle of the night to unload the two building sections and move them via rollers to their permanent location. Compmillennia employees came the next day to complete the assembly and join the two sections into one.
“I think the infoshop pavilion came out really well,” says Ray. “We had a very limited work area because the terminal and the walk areas could never be closed, so the notion of pre-fabrication was critical.” He says his firm would use composites again if the right project came along.
Gardiner believes that composites will be used for more building projects in the future: “The full scope of what you can do with it is limitless. It has great potential.”