Learn about the zinc louvres and cantilevered wing.
Zinc shading fins, or sunscreens, cover three of the four façades. Zinc is low in embodied energy – the energy required to produce materials – when compared to other metals and is easily recycled.
Danny Truong, a Bachelor of Environments graduate, joined John Wardle Architects in 2013 and was a part of the team creating the zinc screens which line the North, West and East elevations.
“The screens are an element of the building’s façade that act as a solar veil, moderating light and views to the interior,” said Danny. “There are over 800 panels, some with as many as 90,000 perforations.”
Using a parametric approach to reduce tool swapping, the final production process was 7.3 times more efficient than the original chosen for the screens. “Technically, the task provided an opportunity to utilise parametric software that was introduced to me in my final year at university.”
You will notice that the south façade, which does not need sun shading, has windows that vary in shape, placement and arrangement. Remember this when you go inside the building and consider how windows influence your experience of the rooms behind.
On the MSD building's East side you can observe the cantilevered wing.
This is a steel frame braced off the roof slab of the concrete section behind. The rooms were designed by architects working with the engineers and construction managers.
In an urban design and planning sense, the cantilever significantly reduces the bulk of the building at ground level, while providing considerable floor space internally in the upper floors. If you look closely, you can see the large steel brace crossing the windows diagonally – from the concrete columns at the top floor, to the lower outside corner on the east and west faces of the frame.
Mounting the Cantilever
The design required staged construction and collaboration of the engineers and construction managers.
The roof slabs were installed first for support, extending back all the way to the level 4 stairs. Then allowing for a 25m drop (subsequently measured by geomatics) in the horizontal beams as the concrete slabs for each floor were added.
The diagonal support can be seen behind the glass on the east and west sides.
Constructing the Cantilever
Once the structural steel was completed, lightweight steel sections were erected to support the roof sheeting.
A steel mesh supports the insulation blanket and Colorbond roofing was laid over the top.
Composite concrete slabs are a lightweight construction which is suitable, but not limited to, cantilever construction – it keeps the weight down. These were laid down on each floor.
The precast concrete façade panels were then placed around the cantilever. They were manufactured in South Australia by Bianco Precast and transported to site overnight.
Subsequently, the windows were fitted. The windows are double-glazed and panelised – the left and right sides interlock and fit into the subsills and subheads. The glass used in the building is a mix of local and imported.
Finally, the ceiling suspension system was then fitted with all the services, such as air conditioning, fire sprinklers, electrical, hydraulics, installed. These are all now concealed in a false ceiling space.
The cantilever's supporting diagonal, taking load and being integral to the structure of the building, had to be fire protected.
It was protected with a vermiculite fire spray.
It only took two days to completely fire proof the diagonal steel member.