Fabritecture (UFS Australasia Pty Ltd T/A Fabritecture) Varsity Lakes, QLD

Project Details

Fabric 1

Producer: PATI Films
Supplier: PATI Films

Engineer Company 1
Wade Engineering; seele cover

Design Company
Brewster Hjorth

Architect Company
Brewster Hjorth

Fabrication Company
seele cover

Subcontractor Company

Project Manager Company

Installation Company

Please describe the project specifications

Beginning in 2017, Camden Council initiated an AUD$13.8million redevelopment of the Oran Park Library & Community Resource Centre in NSW, Australia. The Centre was being built as part of a voluntary planning agreement between UrbanGrowth NSW, Greenfields Development Company, and Camden Council.

Part of the project was a design & construct contract for an ETFE artwork façade on the Western side of the library. A series of triangular ETFE cushions make up the structure. Two-layer pneumatic cushions alternate in directions and colours: red, yellow, white and translucent ETFE foil with a standard frit pattern print.

Apart from offering architectural aesthetic, the façade also acts as an effective solar barrier and temperature regulator from the hot afternoon sun.

What was the purpose of this project? What did the client request?

An artwork requirement was specified as part of the development plan, so the client wanted a functional façade that also satisfied the criteria of structural artwork. Imaginative structures like the Oran Park Library ETFE façade are considered pieces of architectural artwork as they include elements of creativity amid the constraints of a functional piece of engineering.

The structure incorporates 2-layer ETFE cushions in a tessellating triangular pattern in red, yellow, white & translucent foils, complete with backlighting which makes the structure come alive at night.

The façade stands 3 meters in front of the main glass wall of the library, acting as a barrier from the heat of the Western sun. It was designed with the purpose of blocking a majority of the heat before the heat reached the main glass façade of the library. Any redundant heat disappears within the 3m gap.

This system still allows the building to maintain high levels of light whilst simultaneously keeping the library cooler. Although functionality was the primary motive of the structure, the architectural intent was for the ETFE façade to be a distinctive piece of artwork that the local community could be proud of.

What is unique or complex about the project?

The installation for this façade was quite unique. A plan was developed to assemble the whole steel structure/frame and ETFE cushions at ground level, then install it using one crane lift. Due to the small amount required of each foil for the design, obtaining specialised ETFE colours for the yellow-gold and red pillows was quite complex.

None of the pillows sit independently. The ducting system for the cushions was been designed so that each cushion is connected to its predecessor. In this way, the air works its way vertically down the façade through each cushion, removing the need for an unaesthetically large ducting system. Instead, the plenum sits neatly and discreetly along the top of the structure.

Some of the ETFE cushions were inflated before the lift which allowed for faster installation. The façade took 497 man hours to complete.

The steel framing was adapted to lighten the overall weight of the structure with a custom profile, and RHS steelwork around the outside. The custom steel profile allows for connection details and specialised central node connections.

There is a lack of symmetry along the façade, which means most pillows have custom dimensions and complicated nodes where they all meet. Each connection where the corners of the ETFE cushion triangles meet are all different because the symmetry of the triangles is different.

What were the results of the project?

The Oran Park Library project was completed according to plan. The client was very happy with the final results and the façade looks excellent!

Oran Park suburb has seen some tremendous economic, social and residential growth in the last 5-10 years, and it was exciting to be a part of this! The new Library & Resource Centre is now home to a distinctively colourful piece of ETFE artwork.

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