In early 2018, PTM Group was awarded the contract to construct a 55-metre shade structure on Cavenagh St Darwin. This structure is part of the NT Government’s plan to help cool the CBD.


The shade structure, inspired by the Abbey at Fontenay in France, has a number of innovative designs, materials and features. This includes:

  • Locally sourced Stringybark timber supplied by the Gumatj Corporation of North East Arnhem Land.
  • Planter boxes through the centre median strip and along perimeters of Cavenagh Street to house medium scale trees and further cooling.
  • Misting system on the underside of the shade structure improves the overall proximate air temperatures.
  • An LED controlled mood lighting system will provide tropical ambience, with the benefit of being able to adjust the lights for special events.


The architectural design of the structure required PTM Group to research various techniques and apply some creative engineering solutions to cater for the flex of the Gumatj timber. Whilst also maintaining its structural integrity and aesthetics.

Additionally, while reflective surface treatments have an impact on ground temperatures, still air can contribute to considerable temperature increases. This was mitigated by implementing a misting system. This system uses the process of evaporation to draw the heat out from the air. Climber plants were planted to create a natural green canopy over the shade structure. It has been anticipated that the vines will take 12-18 months to cover the shade structure.

Another key challenge was managing the traffic on one of the main streets of Darwin. PTM Group  any disruption to traffic flow and businesses was minimised. With the surrounding residential complexes, issues like noise levels and dust pollutants also had to be factored into the project.


PTM Group implemented numerous layers of management to ensure the construction project ran smoothly. Site supervisors, a project manager, and an onsite construction manager all had different, but equally important roles to ensure the flow of multiple project components. The Project Manager coordinated with each of the subcontractors and provided strong direction to ensure efficiency and minimise errors. PTM Group have a workflow in place that ensures the project runs like a machine – ensuring that everyone knows the flow and process which contributes to project efficiency.

In addition to the personnel component, a program management system was integral to the success of the project. This tool allowed PTM Group to provide weekly progress reports and updates to our client. The success of a project hinges on the project management tool which assists to prioritise tasks and track what’s happening on site. It was also essential to manage budgetary components and cash flows. The tool set out the stages in the project and tracked progress and outcomes.

We are proud to have worked on this project for the Northern Territory Government and helped contribute to the cooling of the Darwin CBD in view of making Darwin a more liveable city.

For visuals on the project, check out the time-lapse of the construction process below…