Working on heritage-listed buildings is always a challenge, but the team working on the Irving Street Brewery building has been looking beyond the challenges to the opportunities.
The Irving Street Brewery Building is part of a $2 billion Central Park mixed-use development being undertaken by Frasers Property Australia and Sekisui House Australia in Sydney.
Consisting of three connected buildings, the development has been split into two stages, with the first stage revolving around a retail and services building. One of this stage’s key innovations is the regeneration of an existing 62 metre heritage-listed chimney flue exhaust that has been creatively adapted to become not only a feature of the project but will also be utilised as the exhaust flue for a new tri-generation plant.
As the most prominent heritage item in the Central Park development, Irving Street Brewery reflects the distinct industrial character of the former Carlton United Brewery site.
Another building houses three large steel hoppers, which were originally used to store the coal to fire the generator furnace. The brief has demanded that these be retained and refurbished to form an oversized focal point inside the large retail space.
The historic status of the existing heritage listed brick walls and the of the existing structure posed some significant structural engineering design challenges.
Engineering firm Meinhardt undertook extensive computer modelling of all loading situations in order to design an efficient clear span portal frame solution and limit overall deflections to reduce the risk of cracking.
The structure has been designed to complement the heritage steel hoppers and concrete grain silos, eliminating the need for excessive new elements which may have compromised the aesthetic value of this significant heritage building. The new structure now re-activates the Brewery Buildings for the new uses, maximising internal spaces while drawing attention to the existing heritage items.
As with most any project in the current climate, the team has been tasked with exploring cost efficiencies. In response, the designers have looked at a solution which reduces the reliance on temporary steel framing, which is notoriously expensive, and also allows the early removal of one of the 16-metre-high brick boundary walls. This has given the contractor early access to the internal space to press on with demolition and then refurbishment and construction works, speeding the programme up significantly.
Scaffolding and formworking are two other large money drains, so the team has sought to eliminate these as well. This has been done by designing a composite Bondek slab system for the plant level, which sits 21 metres above ground. This has also helped improve the speed of construction while tackling accessibility and health and safety concerns for the builder’s team.
Heritage sites have a habit of throwing up nasty surprises. The team has demonstrated the benefit of detailed pre-planning before builders even hit the site.
By conducting an extensive condition survey and early testing procedure, the team has unearthed as many of the unknowns around the existing structure as possible. This foresight has allowed the designers to meet challenges before they even present themselves, reducing the RFI process during construction. It also gave them a chance to consider imaginative and innovative opportunities for the heritage-listed chimney.
The project has been designed by architects Tzannes Associates and is being built by Christies Civil. Stage one is scheduled to be completed in April, 2013.