5 Lessons on the Art of Successful Project Delivery

By Tamir Horesh
August 20, 2019

Architects Should Expect Far More from Building Product Manufacturers

The centerpiece to the $530 million Universiade Sports Center in Shenzhen, China is a dazzling prismatic display of arena art and science. The Sport Center’s 60,000-seat stadium was conceived by the respected German architectural firm GMP in partnership with Chinese design company SADI.


Glazing The Sport Center’s 60,000-seat stadium required a custom-designed installation system.

The undulating crystalline-shaped stadium roof is a signature architectural feature. At night the bold geometry glows, memorably echoing the rippling terrain of the surrounding countryside. Yet, like many design break-throughs, realizing the vision required the early and close cooperation of a key building product manufacturer. Palram, a global manufacturer of polycarbonate panels, performed services that went far beyond the production of 45,000m² (nearly 500,000 square feet) of
PALSUN® Smart Green solid polycarbonate panels for the project. The manner in which the architects, engineers, and installation contractors used Palram solutions to solve key design issues is a lesson in what project leaders should expect from a resourceful, creative materials vendor.


Key Takeaways:

Lesson #1: Engage Early 

The GMP project team wisely engaged Palram early in the design process. “The project required a custom-designed installation system,” explains Tal Furman, Palram chief engineer. “We worked with GMP and their Chinese design partners to create an original system.” Early on it was suggested that Palram could simply repurpose structural details from the Athens 2004 Olympic Stadium, which Palram also worked on.

“We strongly advised against repurposing. It would leak,” Furman said. A 1:100 scale model of the Shenzhen roof structure was built to test Palram’s conclusion. A hose watered the model and “everything leaked,” according to Furman.


Lesson #2: Throw Away The Book


Building material suppliers often “sell by the book”: If material specifications fall outside prescribed parameters, the job may be declined or punitively priced. “We throw away the book. We go by what the customer needs,” observes Tamir Horesh, head of Palram projects. “If that requires a lot of custom tailoring for panel size, color, light transmission, haze, solar transmission, shading coefficient, or special heat-blocking, so be it. Architects can count on us for flexibility.” It’s not uncommon for Palram engineers to work from the design intent to furnish all materials detailing and documentation on behalf of the architect.



A big design challenge for the Shenzhen stadium project team was water drainage.
What was the best way to direct rain water away from spectators?

Lesson #3: Go The Extra Mile


A big design challenge for the Shenzhen stadium project team was water drainage. What was the best way to direct rain water away from spectators? “We created a special aluminum element that served as a drainage channel for any excess water, helping keep spectators dry,” reports Palram engineer Furman.


Lesson #4: Assume Nothing


Jobsite questions and issues are inevitable, no matter how deeply-planned the process. “Our people also participate during the installation phase. We come to the project site. We offer training to the installers, just to make sure everything is going down the right path. We don’t just ship the materials and say," Here, now it’s your problem,’” says Palram product manager, Shlomi Yehodai.


Lesson #5: Under Promise / Over Deliver


Set honest, realistic expectations. “The general contractor was very impressed by how quick the installation went,” reports Furman. Shenzhen stadium roof installation (about 45,000m², 500,000 square feet) took just 100 days.

Meeting or exceeding deadlines supports all downstream project activities. As you plan your next project, expect more from your building product manufacturer. Palram suggests architects look for these services:




  • Quick match of product specifications
  • Adapt plans to fit the architect’s vision
  • Create specific planning details

  • Consult during planning meetings
  • Provide advice on materials and engineering

  • Render conceptual designs



  • Quick match of product specifications
  • Adapt plans to fit the architect’s vision
  • Conduct seminars on request



To Learn More

Website: palramprojects.com

Email Us: projects@palram.com


Tamir Horesh

About the Author:
Tamir Horesh

Tamir is VP Marketing at Palram. He strongly believes that great solutions are achieved through passion for innovation and creativity.

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