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Honeycomb canopy structure is added to Federation Square

January 21, 2014

Inspired by honeycombs and designed by Melbourne’s Maddison Architects, Federation Square’s newest outdoor addition is part sculpture and part public shelter.

Designed by Melbourne’s Maddison Architects, and inspired by the hexagonal forms of honeycombs, Federation Square’s newest outdoor addition is part sculpture and part public shelter.

Covering a 200-square metre area within the urban precinct, Maddison Architects’ canopy construction has been designed to accommodate large crowds of people, as well as withstand Melbourne’s ever-changing weather conditions.

In summer, the inclined steel plates will block out the hot sun and help visitors stay cool in the shade. In winter, when the sun is lower, the fully-glazed, clear-glass roof provides natural lightning below and a touch of warmth for patrons below.

The honeycomb design has special significance at Federation Square with the precinct housing the largest rooftop apiary in Melbourne.

Ten beehives are perched atop the Alfred Deakin Building and provide approximately 350 kilograms of honey each year to the restaurants and cafés at Federation Square.

Key features:

  • The honeycomb structure comprises 167 hexagonal prisms.
  • Each hexagonal prism is individually welded together from laser-cut steel plates.
  • 167 hexagonal clear glass panels (including 20 curved-glass panels) cover the canopy roof.
  • The canopy weighs approximately 37 tonnes and has a maximum height of 5.2 metres.
  • Concealed within every hexagonal prism is LED lighting that illuminates the canopy and enables active use in the evening.
  • Beneath the canopy are planter beds, wind barriers, sit-up benches and public seating.





  • SARA January 29th, 2014 3:24 pm

    In isolation it’s a nice enough roof HOWEVER That space was not supposed to have a roof there -it should not have been built. Furthermore if there was a requirement for a space such as this why not go the original designers of the space and allow them to delicately introduce a roof sympathetic to their design? This design makes the space cluttered and negates the whole idea of an open square. It does not follow the materials or geometry of the surrounding context which LAB (the architects of federation square) worked so tirelessly to achieve. It should be taken down.

  • Anna February 1st, 2014 4:34 pm

    Generally agree, it’s pretty good as a roof in isolation, but it doesn’t really work in that context.

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