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    Wollongong shopping centre built with BlueScope steel wins international architecture awards

    BlueScope Steel

    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 were received.

    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'. 

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