The Shire of Melton commissioned Suters Architects for the design of a 2,200sqm library and civic centre as part of the integrated development of the Caroline Springs Town Centre.
The design team responsible for the Caroline Springs Civic Centre & Library project was inspired by local geological features, namely, the Organ Pipes National Park where there exist columnar basalt formations that occur on rapid cooling of basalt.
The basalt formations of the Organ Pipes National Park drove the design for several elements of the Caroline Springs Civic Centre & Library buildings including: Tesselated/ randomised precast, which posed a significant challenge for the precaster; large supersized hexagons formed using stepped concrete columns with infill pieces that stood as the main entry elements to both buildings; and cranked glass external elements that extended the visual language of the precast.
The precast process was a challenge for Westkon Precast and involved forming concrete moulds using CNC machines and latex moulds. Five master moulds were made and the moulds rearranged for each panel pour.
Suters modelled the shapes and forms of the panels and then sent computer generated models to Westkon to set out the moulds. Westkon then made CNC milled moulds from latex rubber, which was a fairly lengthy process, given the precision required for the moulds to be defect-free.
Class two finished concrete was poured into the moulds and once set, the precast panels were taken out of the moulds and left to cure for a few days. Inspection for defects was carried out by Suters on the precast panels at this point. Once all the panels were cured, they were trucked to Caroline Springs and erected on-site using caulked joints.