Whilst there are a lot of tremendous permanent events venues, a huge and growing number of shows, sports events and conferences take place in large, standardised temporary structures, with portal frame buildings being favoured most of all.
Part of the reason for this is a shift towards pop-up culture, where cultural events are not hosted in custom-built and heavily expensive venues but temporary, standardised structures that can be put up and taken down easily.
However, another part is due to the inherent effectiveness of the portal frame as a structure that provides a wide enclosed space largely unencumbered by columns and other potential blocks.
Here is an explanation of why the portal frame works for events, both from a structural construction perspective and from a cultural and event planning one.
Why A Portal Frame Specifically?
Portal frames are a type of structural frame which consists of two columns, two rafters and a central bracket in the middle that allows for amazing efficiency and stability in construction situations where a pitched roof is acceptable.
It is the common design used for aircraft hangars, where for obvious reasons a building that required supporting walls or columns would be effectively unfeasible, and for that same reason it has become popular in event spaces.
Without columns in place, an event space has a lot more flexibility when it comes to designing the different areas of the event space. In some cases, the portal frame building will consist predominantly of the stage itself for festival events.
However, there is still plenty of flexibility for smaller events as well, with a stage that can be placed anywhere and room to place seating, standing room, amenities and other features to make the location special and personalised despite its standardised origins.
As well as this, there is plenty of room for customisation, not only in the form of painted facades and signage but to a degree with the shape. Several portal-frame stages have unique curved beams and rafters to add an additional aesthetic boost.
Another prominent benefit, and often the biggest advantage for event planners is that it is very cost-effective, but this affordability comes about for a variety of different reasons.
The first and most obvious is that as a standardised structure, it can be easily prefabricated, which reduces the cost per unit and thus makes the portal frame structures cheaper for everyone in the long run.
As well as this, it is an inherently materials-efficient way of creating a large space, without the need for thicker supporting materials or columns that could potentially add cost as well as reduce its practicality. It can also look really beautiful depending on the design.
One cost saving that is not always considered is the savings found during construction. The standardised, prefabricated structures are much faster to put together and take down than other materials.
This means that fewer labour hours are required and therefore has much cheaper installation costs. As well as this, no specialist tools are required for construction.