Rodeca translucent polycarbonate roofing and facade sheets were used for the facade of the Bates Smart designed National Centre for Synchrotron Science (NCSS) in Melbourne.

The modular building uses light and colour technology on the facade to reflect the internal functions of the building.

The NCSS is a research and development centre for scientists who use advanced third generation 3GeV light source with high quality, low emitting, and stable electron beams to research light as a treatment for diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer’s.

Bates Smart director Kristen Whittle described the façade as having a skin which is made from Rodeca multi-wall polycarbonate and is finished in a two coloured paint which changes from a purple to green tint depending on the light.

Alan Sanders from Rodeca says the polycarbonate translucent panels are a fully recyclable plastic.

“It is tough, lightweight and hard wearing (astronaut’s helmet visors are made from polycarbonate) and is very safe as it does not support combustion.”

The architects were looking for a ‘glowing’ effect similar to the RIBA’s Stirling Prize winning building, the Laban Centre in London, which used the Rodeca panels, he says.

“The night-time effect at the Synchrotron was achieved by inserting special lighting between the Rodeca façade and the precast concrete walls. This was designed by Kristen Whittle at Bates Smart who has a great deal of experience with our products being used in this way, having designed the Rodeca cladding for the Laban Centre while working at Herzog & de Meuron Architects,” Sanders says.

The façade systems provide a completely smooth unbroken surface through a tongue and groove system which allows the required light effect to be achieved at night with a clean modern look in day-time.

Whittle says Rodeca was chosen not only for aesthetics, but also because of the cost effectiveness of the material and its intrinsic energy efficiency.

Architectural Building Elements is the Australian distributor of Rodeca translucent polycarbonate roofing and facade sheets.