Thursday, 9 May 2013

Guest post - Project insight from Andrew Barnard


This month, we invited Andrew Barnard from Webber Architects to guest blog on Fielders Steel. In this post, he provides insight into how they created adaptable spaces using steel for the St James Primary School project in Muswellbrook NSW.   


We were approached by St. James Primary School with a clear brief: to provide adaptable spaces and a defined entrance to the general public. The spaces included master planning of a new hall, conversion of an existing hall into offices, library refurbishment, bathroom facilities and various disabled access ramping.

The underlying principle of the project was to provide maximum amenity and environmental sensitivity whilst maintaining a minimalist ‘local context’ approach. To do this, the structural solution and materiality needed to be inherent in the design and balanced with the scale of the building. With this in mind ARAMAX roof sheeting was used, eliminating the need for subframe spanning the main structure.


The underpinning concepts of the Master Plan reinforce the existing buildings and landscape to generate a new ‘urban’ space with active uses surrounding it, thus enhancing the sense of security.

The campus has a low profile in the public domain so pedestrian and vehicular entries were upgraded as ‘urban’ markers to advertise the campus’ presence. With its identifiable and inviting entrance the new hall further assists in establishing this presence on the Skellator Stock Route.

We drew on the striking profile of steel sheeting to embody the spirit of the Australian rural vernacular shed within the schools pastoral context. The steel sheeting (ARAMAX) allowed a crisp modern language attune to the style of the design architect while exhibiting a portrait reminiscent of the broad brimmed hats worn by local farmers. Finishing the building in Zincalume complemented this language whilst reinforcing the modern aesthetic. The language of raw steel also enters into the building where a full stainless steel kitchen serves the hall with function and refinement.

Functionally the long span steel system, ARAMAX, creates an open and flexible multipurpose hall, a project requirement part of the initial brief.  The roofing wraps over the south western facade of the building to help treat the scorching afternoon sun through the provision of a "ventilated facade" with the additional benefit of reducing the structural requirements of the buildings substructure. Long span steel allowed the buildings steel frame to be uncomplicated reducing cost and complexity in detailing and construction. 

The best part about the space is its flexibility to readapt and satisfy the needs of the inhabitants with both school and local community representatives. The final result is a quality space that is not only exciting, flexible and practical but is also able to be used comfortably in all conditions.


About Webber Architects

At Webber Architects we believe that a building’s worth isn’t measured by a single group of people. We believe that it is collective experiences that give a building life and this underpins our commitment to quality urban design. We seamlessly merge architecture, urban design, interior design and master planning to create inspiring commercial and residential spaces.




1 comment:

  1. Hi there! great post. Thanks for sharing a very interesting and informative content, it is a big help to me and to others as well, keep it up!

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