Swinburne LA Building

This new three storey building was built within the existing walls of the LA Atrium Building. Originally designed by Glen Murcutt in the late 1990’s, the LA Atrium Building 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 spaces.  This also allowed for the retention of the existing visual aspect, from the original windows of the building.

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.

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.

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.

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