National Excellence in Building Awards 2014
The Gallery project required a strategic management methodology to deliver this high quality project in a remote regional area.
The Gallery is located in a quintessential Australian rural environment in country NSW. It is sited to follow natural topography of the landscape and is both beautiful and functional in its scale and form—as it fits comfortably within the hillside without dominating the surrounding terrain.
The Gallery’s purpose is to house an extensive collection of Aboriginal art and provides facilities to cater for functions of over 100 guests.
The delivery methodology involved a two staged Guaranteed Maximum Price (GMP). This process enabled dialogue with designers, subcontractors during detailed design and facilitated high quality construction with tight cost control.
The project provided an opportunity for building professionals, trades people and artisans to participate in the use of locally sourced natural materials. This required considerable ability due to the complexity and quality of the build.
The superstructure of the building is constructed of concrete and steel and wrapped in an insulated sandwich panels to maximise energy efficiency. Both levels have exposed concrete floors which are honed and sealed.
The lower level has concrete block work which supports steel and the bondeck formwork is used to form the ground floor slab.
The façade is predominantly made of three main materials: rammed earth, Corten® steel cladding and recycled timber.
Natural Stone and double glazed windows also makeup the balance of the materials used on the façade.
Services were incorporated within the build to meet the operation and statutory requirements of the gallery.
Disciplines such as electrical, mechanical, hydraulic and fire were all carefully coordinated during construction and tested and commissioned on completion of the works.
A key driver of construction was the creative use of recycled materials and the adaption of certain materials which could be procured on site. The sensitive use of indigenous materials such as stone and rammed earth are all synonymous with the district and were quarried adjacent the site continuing a long tradition in the area. These materials are used extensively both on the outside and within the building.
Iron bark and tallowwood timber is used extensively both for façades, joinery, furniture and floors and are all recycled from the dismantled Hornibrook bridge in Qld.
The stone used in the construction of the garden courtyard wall was quarried within 50 meters of the site. A small rocky outcrop was cleared of overburden and an excavator and stone mason spent several weeks extracting stones, which were sized to be easily managed by hand. The size, shape and colour of the stone was extremely important to the client as this material was already used extensively around the property.
Several prototype walls were constructed to ensure the finished product met the client’s expectations.
Industrial weathered steel (Corten®) was also used extensively in the façade including crafting it into a pattern on the façade screen which is based on aboriginal parrying shields. The eastern elevation screens again were designed in conjunction with Jonathon Jones.
The materials for the rammed earth wall were quarried less than a kilometre from the building and incorporate a matrix of clay, sand, cement and polymers to produce a strong and durable product.
The entrance to the building is highlighted by a relief incorporated in the rammed earth wall. This sculpture was also designed by Jonathon Jones, an aboriginal artist commissioned to incorporate a work of art into the rammed earth. Jonathon’s original concept design, which represents swarming bogon moths, was translated into a 3D model and a relief carved into high density polystyrene using a 3D printer.
Internally, The galleries ceilings are lined with Modewood – a soft wood that was fabricated into panels and acoustically lined.
A feature of the southern façade is the hydraulically operated pivot screen walls. The design required exacting tolerance to minimise the visual appearance of the rams and were designed and constructed especially for the project.
Polished concrete is also a feature of much of the building. The brief was for the floor to be “salt and peppered” finish, meaning shades of exposed aggregates dispersed with lightly exposed sands in the concrete can be seen throughout. The floor is finished with a sealer to provide a hard wearing surface but does not provide any sheen.
The tallowwood flooring was cut into particularly wide and thin planks to meet the design intent, are glued and secretly nailed.
Finally, the courtyard/entry water feature was collaboration with the artist Jonathon Jones. The “source” of the water feature starts adjacent to the vehicle set down point where visitors arrive at the building. The water then cascades down a “runnel” which is symbolic in that it is reminiscent of the early gold rush years on the property. The exact angle and depth of cut to the stone in runnel was extensively prototyped by mocking up a section in a Melbourne factory-where the stone was sourced.
“Where thistles two metres high once grew now stands the new Garangula Gallery, sitting comfortably amid beautiful landscape of colonial buildings, a stone chapel, polo fields, sculptures and much more”. Michael Earle, Estate Manager.
Executive Director of the Master Builders ACT, John Miller, said of the project, “The product of the collaborative vision of decorated Canberra builders, world renowned Australian architects and the owner, the excellence of the Garangula Gallery is as compelling as its narrative”.