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    Innovative steel architecture and engineering shine at 2014 National Steel Excellence Awards

    Geraldine Chua

    Close cooperation and deft planning were key factors that united the four winners of the 2014 Steel Excellence Awards, announced by the Australian Steel Institute at the Marriott Surfers Paradise in September.

    Star City Events Centre by Brookfield Multiplex, ICPM and Taylor Thomson Whitting, and designed by Fitzpatrick + Partners, won the Buildings – Large Project category. Sitting atop of the existing casino, the facility comprises over 1,000 tonnes of new structural steel, and is a braced steel frame supported on eight existing columns and two new columns positioned between two post-tensioned transfer beams.

    The internal floor structure hangs from an external ring truss, which transfers back to the primary columns. Site bolting was utilised for the connection of prefabricated elements across the site, reducing onsite welding to an absolute minimum.

    “[Star City Events Centre] is an elegant solution especially difficult on an existing structure whilst it was still operational, involving a high degree of team coordination,” the jury commended.

    Teamwork was also central to the Scenic Railway Upgrade in Katoomba, NSW, which was awarded the Engineering Projects category top prize. Submitted by Jacobs SKM, the project prominently employs steelwork to upgrade the railway, listed by Guinness Book of Records as the world’s steepest.

    A 3D laser survey of existing structures allowed for accurate modelling to deal with the loose and environmentally sustainable terrain, leading to an innovative use of steel casing in micropiles for new foundation work.

    Altogether, 17,855 individual steel components, representing 205 tonnes of fabricated steelwork, were used on the project, with most components installed via helicopter.

    AGL Lakeside Pavilion at the Australian Botanic Garden in regional NSW, submitted by Hunter Galvanizing, won the Buildings – Small Project category. Made almost entirely of steel, it draws together a semi-permanent theatrical marquee and more permanent utility shed.

    The main steel was fabricated off-site entirely, and assembled with bolted connections to avoid onsite welding and maximise the speed of construction. Steel sections also featured a modular design for ease of transport to ensure fit within galvanising bath size capability.

    Topping the Steel Clad Structures category was IGLU Central Student Accommodation by Bates Smart, Grindley Construction and Taylor Thomson Whitting in Sydney' CBD. Weathering steel panels were applied to the striking façade, affixed with simple self-tapping connections to speed construction.

    A characteristic ochre brown patina not only complements the surrounding brick facades, but also produces a natural oxide layer to slow and eventually stabilise corrosion. A perforated metal layer was added to several areas to add detail, scale and texture to the building whilst serving as a privacy screen enabling natural light to filter into the space.

    The Steel Excellence Awards are organised every two years, and seek to recognise the project teams associated with winning entries. Winners and finalists were shortlisted from the five state programs conducted earlier in the year.

    Full list of winners:

    Buildings – Large Projects

    The Star Events Centre – Brookfield Multiplex, ICPM, and Taylor Thomson Whitting

    Highly Commended

    Global Change Institute – Bligh Tanner and HASSELL

    Buildings – Small Projects

    AGL Lakeside Pavilion, Mount Annan – Hunter Galvanizing

    Steel Clad Structures

    Iglu Central Student Accommodation – Bates Smart, Grindley Construction and Taylor Thomson Whitting

    Engineering Projects

    Scenic Railway Upgrade, Katoomba – Jacobs SKM

    Highly Commended

    Melbourne Star – Arup and International Paint (separate entries)

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