Stramit C Purlins were integrated into the design of a new science building at the Trinity Anglican School (TAS) in Cairns, Queensland to create a visually striking effect.

Designed by architects Charles Wright and built by Hansen Yuncken Construction, TAS’ new science building is a high-tech facility that epitomises the high standard of teaching and innovative learning the school has been known for since its inception in 1983. Construction on the school’s new science building began in September 2014 and finished in early 2015.

Given a brief to design an inspiring and contemporary new science facility, Charles Wright of Charles Wright Architects decided to integrate Stramit C Purlins to create a stunning building characterised by a host of striking science symbols that epitomise the idea of linkage and connection and are open to interpretation as helix, slinky or science apparatus.

The brief also required an efficient, well-planned landmark building that could withstand the unpredictable weather conditions of Cairns.

Seeking a proprietary finish that could stand the test of time, Wright came across the ZAM finish, a coating suitable for structural purlins when researching the best coatings for the feature building facade. Stramit C Purlins were roll formed from ZAM coated steel to provide greater corrosion resistance. A blend of zinc, aluminium (6%) and magnesium (3%), the ZAM coating complies as a Type ZM coating in Australian Standard AS1397 – 2011. The high corrosion protection of Type ZM coating in salty environments would provide better durability in Cairns’ tropical climate compared with hot-dip galvanised steel.

While Wright was confident about the purlins’ performance in rough weather conditions, he also had to ensure that they would fit the brief from an aesthetic and structural perspective. The finish of ZAM coating compared with standard galvanising was superior both visually and in terms of longevity, delivering an impressive facade.

The helix twist, which links the science building to the rest of the campus and is also featured in the design of the staircase, is inspired by the double helix shape of a DNA molecule. Used for the innovative facade of the building, the helix was built using Stramit C Purlins, which were moulded to form a three-dimensional, steel wound exterior for the senior science building.

Observing that Stramit ZAM gave a new look to steel that had not previously been available, Mr Wright said he would definitely recommend Stramit ZAM as a feature finish for exposed lightweight steel products.

Image: The new science building at the Trinity Anglican School featuring the helix twist design