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Concrete In Australia : September 2008
NATIONAL PRECASTER NUMBER 49 • AUGUST 2008NUMBER 49 • UGUST 2008 Expressing complex geometry with precast concrete “Spun” – Southbank Education and Training Precinct Within the heart of the Brisbane Southbank Education and Training Precinct lies “Spun” – a versatile centrepiece which brings together the ingenuity and precision of structural engineering with the fragility and style of modern art. Spun, designed by prominent Brisbane artist and sculptor Lincoln Austin, combines art with functionality to create a part sculpture and part seating area and shade structure. Amid its spiralling random form and its function as both artwork and furniture, Spun has become a popular and functional meeting place within the precinct for students and locals alike. “From an artist’s point of view, it was fantastic to work with both Arup and Cox Rayner who didn’t attempt to modify the design. They understood the medium and lightness of the sculpture and worked with the design throughout the entire construction process,” Lincoln said. The design team of engineer Arup and architect Cox Rayner, consulted with the precaster and concluded that precast concrete was going to be the most adaptable and versatile material to make the artist’s vision of Spun a structural reality. Working closely with the artist, the design team was able to rationalise the continuous spiralling main structure into discrete, flat and transportable elements which greatly simplified precast geometry. Arup senior structural engineer Tom Hambley said “Arup made use of the double spiral and designed a unique base connection which allowed loads to transfer between adjacent spirals through shallow foundations.” “This base connection allowed panel thickness to be minimised as well as simplifying precast connections for construction.” “Use of precast concrete (produced by Precast Concrete Products) provided numerous advantages including simplification of site activities, accurate geometry as well as completing the project with the sought after high quality finish,” Tom said. “It’s also an excellent and cost-effective alternative to stainless steel.“ Lincoln, who built an entire model of the site before starting on his design, said the concept of one place leading to another was something he wanted to express while still considering the issues of durability and accessibility. “It was my intention to create an open space, something that could sit nicely and blend into the landscape rather than being oppressive or standing out.” Spun Client: Artist: The success of Spun in terms of being a practical piece of art is the result of an equally balanced collaboration between the artist, engineer, architect and precaster. Engineer: Architect: Builder: Precast Manufacturer: SETP PPP Consortium - ABN Amro, John Holland Group, Spotless Lincoln Austin Arup Cox Rayner John Holland Group Precast Concrete Products Arup Engineer Matt David with artist/sculptor Lincoln Austin. 30 Concrete in Australia Vol 34 No 3