Location: Swinburne University Hawthorn, VIC 
Completed: 2010
Material: Precast Concrete
Panel Type: Off form 100% white cement
Products: White Oxide
Uses: Walls

The Swinburne University Advanced Technologies Centre (“SATC”) is set to be a state of the art research centre comprising two 11 storey towers connected via pedestrian precast bridge elements set behind two three storey structures. The building designed by Architects H20 proved to be one of the most challenging projects ever undertaken by Advanced Precast (“AP”). The theme of the external façade to the building is that of frothing bubbles emanating from the base of the building with decreasing circle diameters travelling up its height eventually becoming uniform. The theme of circles comprised 60mm concrete projections of 950 diameter and similar size circular concrete recesses of 30mm. Windows and viewing ports were incorporated in the Architectural façade and coincided with circular projections and recesses.

The main challenge for AP was to deliver a precast product both consistent in quality and colour. The Architectural specification called for an off form off white coloured concrete enhanced with the addition of white coloured oxide. The moulds utilised for the project were designed by AP in house engineers and assembled using several different fabricators in collaboration with AP tradesmen. The primary material used for the moulds was steel but due to the non-uniformity of the lower levels of the building other materials were required such as foam, timber and rubber selected for their ease of workability and adaptability in areas not easily formed in steel. It is not easy to deliver a uniform finish when dealing with such a diverse set of materials and that is where AP’s experience was required to bridge the gap. By working closely with their concrete supplier the supply of concrete was closely scrutinised in order to produce the most uniform colour possible, not an easy task given the manufacture of precast was delivered over a 12 month period across four seasonal changes.
A well co-ordinated effort between Kane Constructions (The Builder) and Advanced Precast (The Precaster & Erector) ensured that Swinburne University (The Client) received a world class building in terms of the standard of finish. “This project was particularly challenging in that the precast walls were of an off form finish which meant that the precast erection had to be carefully planned and co-ordinated to avoid undue marring of the precast product which would detract from the quality of the completed building,” said Victorian State Manager George Cosmos.