A suburban shopping centre in Wollongong, New South Wales built using
BlueScope steel has won two international architecture design awards.
HDR Rice Daubney's design for the GPT Group's Wollongong Central project
was awarded two 2015 Architizer A+Awards. Competing with more than 3000 entries
from 80 countries, the Wollongong Central project won the Juror's Choice and
Popular Choice A+Awards in the Shopping Centre category.
The Architizer A+Awards, now in its third year, is said to be the
largest awards program for architecture in the world. The global audience for
the Awards this year exceeded 100 million viewers and over 200,000 public votes
Steel for the project was sourced from BlueScope’s Port Kembla
Steelworks. GPT development manager Steven Turner explained that BlueScope
fast-tracked production of its new Low-Glare Coated (LGC) DECKFORM steel,
which was then still in development, so that Wollongong Central could be the
first large-scale project to use the product.
The new BlueScope steel product features a proprietary resin coating
that reduces the reflected glare of structural steel decking, making it a safer
product to work with compared to regular decking steel. Additionally, over 2000
square metres of XLERPLATE LITE steel were specified for the project to
create a shroud of 750 blades finished in iron oxide-style paint on the
building's southern elevation.
Architect Susanne Pini explains that these blades have a kinetic effect when
moving around the building at ground level, appearing as a solid wall of
oxidised steel from side on and opening up once standing front-on.
According to Ms Pini, steel is usually used as a
fairly rigid material, both visually and physically; however, in this project,
the steel blades put up different vistas and rhythms in a delightful and
playful way. She adds that the blades are an obvious reference to
Wollongong's past as a 'steel city'.