Student populations rise and fall based on factors such as birth rate, the state of the economy, availability of grant funding, school reputation and more, giving facility managers fits trying to match building capacity to student enrollment. The popularity of portable classroom structures, also called bungalows, t-shacks, trailers, terrapins, huts, t-buildings or, in Australia, demountables, increases with the ebb and flow of educational demand. In the U.S. alone, 300,000 portable classrooms house students learning everything from basic reading to post-graduate physics.
Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, introduced its world-class demountable lotus theater earlier this year. The $3.4 million tensile fabric structure includes more than 7,500 square feet of space, tiered seating for 500 students, integrated computer and audiovisual systems, LED dimmable lighting, rest rooms, storage areas, security systems, insulation and air conditioning. Fabritecture, an Australian firm that designs and installs tensile fabric structures, built the lotus theater to last 20-25 years. Its steel-truss frame is covered with Premium Ferrari 9025 PVC fabric. The whole structure is demountable and can be broken down and relocated for future surges of students coming to Macquarie University, making it an economical and sustainable solution for ever-changing educational institutions.