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Concrete In Australia : December 2013
10 Concrete in Australia Vol 39 No 4 NEWS Enhancing the concrete/formwork symbiosis by Carlo Garofali and Brad McCarthy Excellence in concrete construction is only achieved when there is excellence in formwork. The recently completed Soheil Abedien School of Architecture (SASA) is an emphatic demonstration of this axiom. SASA is a landmark D&C project recently delivered by ADCO Constructions for Bond University on their Gold Coast Campus, partnered with the internationally renowned formwork engineering company, PERI. SASA’s design was the culmination of an international competition, won by the London firm of Cook Robotham Architectural Bureau (CRAB), in association with Populous and Brit Andresen. CRAB’s architects wanted the building to relate with the surrounding landscape and environment, not only via its physical orientation on the site and its interaction with the university campus, but also via the extensive use of concrete and indigenous timber as the main construction materials. Key elements of the main academic building include a 70m long “street” of varying width and height dominated by four 14m tall blade walls its designers refer to as “scoops”. There are also numerous tall curved walls along the exterior which complement these architectural concrete structures and have been described as “structural, environmental and experiential elements”. The scoops provide the essential structural supports for the stairways and main roof while permitting light and air into the building. They also provide a visually stunning interior that is both aesthetically pleasing and functional by practically dividing the building into its key functions, dedicated studios and work spaces. Constructability Pragmatically, they did much more than that. The striking architectural features presented significant challenges when transforming the concept into something constructible. The sculptural nature of these feature walls required specialist attention, due to their 3D varying cur ved and tapering geometry. The sculptured shapes could only be realised with stringent management and extensive early involvement with key subcontractors to deal with the issues inherent in the design, detailing, build- ability and shop drawing process. Once the process, design and delivery methodology were established, the physical challenge of onsite construction began. Because the scoops were off-form architectural concrete, the quality of formwork was essential to the quality of the finished surface. The onsite formwork as a trade likened itself more to cabinetry than traditional formwork. Each piece of plywood was bespoke and hand-crafted to ensure compliance with the complex curved nature of the design. This often painstaking approach, combined with an attention to detail and focus on quality assurance, has resulted in a quality building and, even at this early juncture, local community and industr y acclaim. So, how were challenges overcome? For the solution to the complicated scoop and southern external wall construction, ADCO chose PERI to collaborate with both the architect and the formworker to achieve the final result. PERI’s experience with iconic projects of complex shapes and 3D curvatures was crucial in deciding to engage PERI’s German engineering team to undertake the design. Over 400 CAD detail and assembly drawings were produced to enable the formwork system, which itself was chosen for the necessar y flexibility with pour heights, intricate block-outs, wall The complex curved design required hand-crafted plywood for onsite formwork. Blade walls, or scoops, were a defining feature of the Soheil Abedien School of Architecture at Bond University. 4-16 News.indd 10 4-16 News.indd 10 25/11/13 2:37 PM 25/11/13 2:37 PM