A new section of the $600 million Chadstone shopping centre development will open on 13 October, giving the public the first glimpse at its one-of-a-kind glass gridshell roof.

The development will deliver more than 100 new retailers, two new dining precincts, a new cinema complex and a Legoland Discovery Centre, but it’s the architectural roof gathering intrigue from the industry.

It has been designed by global architecture firm CallisonRTKL and British structural engineering company Atelier One, and covers more than 7,000sqm of the shopping centre’s new rooftop. It’s made from 2,700 quadrilateral, square and rectangular glass panels of varied sizes, and held up by gridshell structure of more than 200 individual ladder frames.

Combined, the glass panels and gridshell frame contribute to a total roof mass of nearly 1,000 tonnes and cover an area of more than five Olympic-size swimming pools. They’re also the product of an extensive international collaboration between designer, engineer, manufacturer and installer, one that stretched across Western Europe before arriving home to Australia.

The process began with a concept design by CallisonRTKL which was then modelled and detailed by UK engineers Atelier One on purpose-built modelling software. Austrian fa├žade construction company, Seele then completed the structural analysis and design and was also in charge of fabricating and transporting the glass panels. The glass panels themselves were also a collaborative effort involving manufacturing and coating from Scholl (Germany) and cutting by Guardian Glass (also Germany).

The panels were shipped to Australia and placed into the ladder frames which were manufactured by Australia’s GFC Industries (Campbellfield, Victoria). Each panel of glass was installed individually by hand, with each panel taking approximately 15 minutes to be guided in to its final position.