Atmoshpere – WALGA

Project Name:

WALGA

Location:

Western Australia

Application:

Facade

Specification:

Atmoshpere

Scope

In redesigning its headquarters, the Western Australia Local Government Association (WALGA) had quite a few specific requirements it needed to meet.

The design had to be attractive.

It had to be environmentally responsible.

And it had to reflect the particular local flavour of Western Australia.

So when the architects were tasked with realising this vision, they knew who to call. Locker Group’s range of architectural products, its access to locally sourced material and its decades of experience and expertise meant they could supply and install the facade of the building that would fit all of these needs.

Atmosphere lowers energy consumption

It’s no secret that WALGA has a focus on environmental sustainability. From its “That’s Rubbish” recycling campaign, launched during National Recycling Week, to its emphasis on the environment and waste management in its overall policy plan, WALGA is focused on creating environmentally conscious local government areas.

So it was a no-brainer that when it made its new headquarters in West Leederville, the building would reflect these values. Locker Group’s Atmosphere facade played a key role in achieving this.

“They specifically asked for Atmosphere,” Locker Group Architectural Sales Manager Darren Stringer said in a recent interview.

Atmosphere is a unique facade system that uses Ronstan tension stainless steeled cables and folded perforated panels to create an easily installed, energy-conserving building exterior that is both attractive and functional.

“It was a decorative, lightweight facade [with a] purpose to reduce the impact of solar energy entering the building, and to reduce the energy consumed within the building,” continued Mr Stringer.

According to Mr Stringer, Atmosphere has the ability to reduce the amount of heat hitting any given building by up to 78 per cent. And by giving shadowing and shading to the building’s interior, its overall energy consumption also drops, as less air conditioning is needed to keep it cool under the beating Western Australian sun.

Locker Group’s work paid off in the end. The WALGA office was ultimately given a Five Star Green Star rating for “Australian excellence” in sustainable design, according to the official WALGA website.

The benefits of Pic Perf

Working in concert with the Atmosphere was Locker Group’s Pic Perf, which allows any image to be created in perforated metal. This can be anything from a brand or a logo to a photograph or an abstract artwork.

“It’s more of a feature than your normal standard perforations or your typical façade,” explained Mr Stringer.

To reflect the unique local characteristics of Western Australia, WALGA elected to have the Kangaroo Paw, a local plant of the Wildflower State, recreated on the building’s facade.

Atmosphere and Pic Perf are easy to install

What differentiates Atmosphere from traditional facades is the fact that it’s fixed onto tensioned cables, rather than being a secondary steelwork structure, making the initial installation process relatively easy.

In fact, the only challenge the Locker Group team ran into when fitting it onto the WALGA office was the weather. The C-shaped installation area was “a bit of a vortex for the wind”, said Mr Stringer, which made labouring on an elevated working platform or boom lift particularly tricky. Care was therefore of the utmost importance.

This is much the same with Pic Perf. Because you can simply remove the individual panels and reassemble new ones on the vertical cables, it allows for endless re-branding opportunities – so if WALGA ever want to replace the Kangaroo Paw with another classic Western Australian symbol in some years time, it will be easy and affordable.

When the Western Australian Local Government Association needed an energy-saving and decorative facade for their new headquarters, they called Locker Group.

Atmosphere – Royal North Shore Hospital

Project Name:

Royal North Shore Hospital

Location:

Sydney, New South Whales

Architect:

BVN Architecture

Builder:

Thiess

Specification:

Atmoshpere

Scope

The primary scope of this project was to build a decorative façade and sunscreen that could also act as a pedestrian barrier for the new seven-level, 567-space parking building constructed as part of the $1.127 billion Royal North Shore Hospital ( RNSH) and Community Health Services Redevelopment.

After being approached by Thiess, Locker Group’s contribution led to a re-envisioned design utilising their AtmosphereTM façade system, in order to achieve greater installation efficiency and a more practical solution.

Progression

One of the factors contributing to the success of the RNSH project was the planning and design time available; Locker Group was able to work with the team to offer their insight and advice. Connecting with the construction firm in the early days of design and planning, Locker Group worked closely with, Thiess, to ensure all preliminary research and preparation was completed before construction began.

The Atmosphere façade system was chosen based on the simplicity of fixing the system and the resulting reduction of steelwork required. The design not only offers improvements in the installation times, but also provided the designer with more flexibility in terms of pattern and panel design while still meeting the open area requirements for a car park design.

When First approached, Locker Group demonstrated how the project would progress in significant detail. Locker Group showed Thiess relevant designs. Important engineering details and examples of completed projects, including a visit to the previous installation in Coffs Harbour. Locker Group also showed Thiess videos and timelines of exactly how the installation would proceed, meaning the team could put specific plans in place for the time the crew would be on site. They liked the designs so much that they altered the entire construction project to suit the Atmosphere TM façade.

From there, Locker Group and Thiess worked closely together to ensure the designs and plans were feasible and met all relevant standards and requirements. Because Locker Group had already completed a lot of product-related research and engineering, only the client-specific studies were left, meaning the time frame between design and application was more than sufficient. Locker Group and Thiess partnered in an exhaustive process beforehand to iron out most of the potential challenges and risks. They worked together to develop an overview of the support system, which enabled the project to be planned and prepared in incredible detail before installation.

Outcome

The extensive planning combined with the simplicity of the Atmosphere stages meant the installation of the RNSH façade took just 10 days. Locker group’s Atmosphere façade was much lighter and faster to install than the original plans for the project, which meant Locker Group was easily able to deliver the finished project on time and on budget.

The project was completed quickly and efficiently due to the team having critical items in place and ready to go when needed, eliminating a lot of steel work and dealing with issues the moment they arose. There are always going to be challenges during a project of this size and scope, but the partnership minimised obstacles and, as a result, the project delivery was relatively painless.

Overall, Thiess and Locker Group are both happy with the outcome. Not only will this partnership likely lead to further work down the line, but Locker Group is pleased to have such a excellent example of their façade accessible to future clients in Sydney.

Custom Perforated Panels & Pic Perf

Locker Group Case Study – Custom Perforated Panels & Pic Perf – John Curtin

Project Name:

John Curtin College of the Arts

Location:

Fremantle, WA

Architect:

JCY Architects

Builder:

EMCO Building

Application:

Facade

Specification:

Custom Perforated Panels & Pic-Perf

Photography:

Rob Burnett

Commercial construction is a collaborative process more than anything else, from the initial design concept to the moment when the final bolt is screwed into place.

So, when JCY architects contacted Locker Group for a job, the latter applied its expertise throughout every phase of the endeavour, providing a comprehensive service on top of its custom-made products.

Preliminary considerations:

The Project was first conceptualised by administrators at John Curtin College of the Arts, who approached JCY to design a new building located in Fremantle, Western Australia (WA). The goal was to create an aesthetic building that would provide both solar shading to inhabitants and stunning views of the surrounding region.

Requiring a firm with both design and production capabilities, JCY sought the expertise of Locker Group, and its Architectural Sales Manager, Darren Stringer who, along with his colleagues, worked with the team to:

  • Understand what the architects were striving to achieve
  • Identify risks associated with the endeavour to prepare in advance
  • Recommend Materials that met JCY’s requirements

At this point, Locker Group proposed a unique iteration of its perforated façade product; a 3D folded perforated panel, which was also replicated in Pic-Perf surrounding the internal stairwells, reflecting the origami-like folds in dappled light.

Providing guidance from start to finish:

Before initiating the manufacturing process, Locker Group provided a prototype of the recommended material and a panel prototype, to the design team. Upon finalisation of the design, Locker Group oversaw all elements of the façade package, from manufacture and coating, to fabrication and installation.

This granted Locker Group full visibility and control over the project, allowing them to foresee and handle any potential issues. A focus on the little things can have a big impact on the final product. When working with anodised aluminium, there’s a potential for ‘tiger striping’, an issue where the natural grains and imperfections within the aluminium are highlighted by the anodising process. To ensure consistency across the anodised finish, Locker Group sourced the material from the same batch, directly from the mill.

The 3D nature of the panel design would potentially be tricky to transport across the country unblemished. So, the perforated metal was manufactured in Melbourne and shaped in Perth, reducing the potential for finished panels to be damaged while en route to WA.

In any project, it’s not uncommon to discover challenges where the physical building differs slightly from the original project drawings. Locker Group was able to work with both JCY and EMCO Building to overcome any challenges as they arose, with simple modifications to ensure a smooth project delivery.

“It’s all about dialogue, communication and partnership, all with the goal of achieving a successful outcome,” said Mr Stringer.

The real value in working with Locker Group:

Partnering with a company that hides problems and ignored risks is the basis of an expensive project and an unpleasant experience. This certainly wasn’t the case when JCY collaborated with Locker Group.

The latter’s attention to detail, guidance and sense of responsibility enabled the project to go off without any major setbacks. Locker Group’s willingness to provide consultation in conjunction with its projects has earned it a favourable reputation among architects across the country.

“Like any project , you will always get challenges and problems—whether related to climate, job site requirements, conflicts with sub-contractors. However, maintaining an open dialogue allows us to collectively navigate these issues and deliver a positive outcome not just for ourselves but for our partners as well,” said Mr Stringer.

In this respect, “Locker Group is not so much a product – based company as it is a solution provider. Working with us means gaining a partner that will contribute its knowledge and resources to ensure a successful outcome.”

Frew Park

Playground Equipment – Frew Park

Project Name:

Frew Park

Location:

Brisbane

Builder:

Locker Group / Playworks

Architect

Guymer Bailey

Application:

Playground enclosures

Specification:

Boston 311 T316 Stainless

How Locker Group designed, supplied and constructed Frew Park

Traditionally, Locker Group’s role in construction projects has been that of a supplier only. Now, the firm’s services are becoming more comprehensive, guiding initiatives from start to finish.

Locker Group’s participation in the Frew Park project exemplifies the company’s evolution into a solutions-focussed firm—one that embodies modern development.

A playground with an industrial edge

The Brisbane City Council contacted the architects at Guymer Bailey to rejuvenate the former Milton Tennis Centre, envisioning an exciting playground for both toddlers and adolescents. The architects conceptualised a playground that had an industrial feel, like a miniature, abandoned city waiting to be explored. Based on the original design., Guymer Bailey realised it needed a product with small apertures that could;

    • Create an above-ground enclosure
    • Discourage kids from climbing the equipment
    • Support a safe environment
  • Provide visibility

Regarding this criteria, the architects contacted Locker Group’s Contracting manager Damian Parker, who had worked with Guymer Bailey in the past. After assessing their requirements, Mr Parker and his colleagues selected the Boston 311 woven wire profile. Opting for a stainless steel iteration to eliminate the need for special coating, Mr Parker knew Boston 311 would deliver the functions Guymer Bailey needed. The wire mesh sported a 7.5 x 25.4mm aperture and upheld the industrial theme the architect was looking to emulate. To provide the playground equipment, principle contractor Epoca Construction brought Playworks into the fold. As Playworks’ products would be installed in tandem with Locker Group’s, the former company contracted Locker Group to design, supply and install the metalworks under their construction package.

Honing the product to fulfil its purpose:

With the exact product in mind, Mr Parker and the other experts at Locker Group had to figure out the best way to fabricate it according to Guymer Bailey’s needs. First the team assessed Boston 311’s inherent requirements. Woven wire needs a framework on the outside, with clamps connecting the mesh between flat surfaces. The trick is to make sure the clamps are tight enough so the material stays in place when exposed to impact ( in this case, kids at play). To uphold the product’s stability, Mr Parker and his colleagues created a fixing detail, utilising a rivet system that would clamp between two flat plates, one of which would be welded to the perimeter frame. Locker Group’s experts brought this draft to Guymer Bailey’s architects, who were using 3-D design software to create a detailed visualisation of the playground. After integrating the woven wire product into digital model, Guymer Bailey and Locker Group agreed on a final specification and price for materials.

Production and installation:

Mr Parker and his colleagues used their own computer-aided design (CAD) application, creating the tunnels, suspended cages and other playground components Locker Group would fabricate. Once final iterations were complete, the engineering team outlined the production process. This phase wasn’t without its challenges. The design consisted of precast panels positioned at different angles and a tapered tube between those panels. Fabricating this item involved crafting a cone, cutting it at different angles and flattening it so it could be rolled back up for on-site delivery. Then, Locker Group collaborated with Playworks during building phase to oversee the installation of the wire mesh. This ensured all of the playground elements integrated well. From start to finish, Mr Parker and everybody else at Locker Group delivered the guidance Guymer Bailey and the other stakeholders needed. Although it didn’t supply all the materials, the firm took a proactive approach towards project management, setting a new standard for suppliers throughout Australia.

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