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LA Building Swinburne University of Technology New building and fit-out


Nominated for the AIA awards 2010

Key PRO-ARK Pty Ltd staff:
Mario Duvnjak Director & Scott Tseng Technical Director
Project cost: $3.80 Mil

Key Sub Consultants Bonacci Group Structural & Civil, Heath Robinson Services Engineers, Wilde & Woollard QS, Builder AMP Pty Ltd

Project cost: 3.75 Mil construction completed in 7 months, on time and budget; less than 10K in Architectural related variations.

Swinburne University of Technology, Lilydale Campus, commissioned our office to design, document and administer the construction contract for an approximately 1,100 M2, $3.5 Mil., three level building. This included; a ground floor book store, IT study centre, cafeteria, two floors of combined student study/research work stations, recreation and IT entertainment areas plus general administration work spaces.

The challenge that the new three storey building presented, was that is was to be built within the existing walls of the original LA Atrium Building. Originally designed by Glen Murcut in the late 1990’s, it was a student retreat and seating area.

Our design sought to respect the existing building by retaining all of the original external and internal forms, including the central skylights and pedestrian circulation space, thus allowing for the continuation of the existing visual aspect available from the original windows of the building.

The new building was constructed inside the atrium, through the temporary removal of one large glazed section – approximately 6mx4m – to the side of the existing building. This formed the only access portal, through which all of the materials and labour were brought in to firstly demolish and remove the existing concrete slab and base, construct the new concrete slab, concrete columns, curtain walls, separate services roof, then the general services and fit out.

All this was achieved whilst the surrounding hoarding continued to allow the students and staff to utilise the existing adjoining building and lecture theatre. By retaining the existing structure and ensuring minimum impact, the client achieved significant cost savings.

The building – within – a – building, concept provided the opportunity for greater passive control over the internal climate, as the existing atrium provided an external thermal buffer. As such, thermally improved glazing could be used to maximise light penetration into the deep floors, whilst minimising unwanted heat loss / gains. Additional heat buildup was directed to the exterior through vents.

PRO-ARK designed and documented the project within seven weeks, including the coordination of all of the consultants, tendered the project, and had the full construction completed within seven months. This ensured the project was ready for the commencement of the next semester. The architectural variations on this project were less than 1% of the project value.

The Building was officially opened by the Vice Chancellor, Mr Iain Young. He praised the project, stating that it had sucessfully achieved the client brief, respected the original building, that it was built on time, on budget, and with minimum possible disruption to the University.