Boral Timber’s Kiln Dried F27 (KDF27) structural timber has been used extensively in the development of the University of Western Sydney’s Climate Change and Energy Research (CCER) Facility at Richmond, New South Wales.
Highlighting the trend towards adaptive reuse of buildings, the refurbishment project incorporates an existing 1930s two storey brick building to provide new research facilities, laboratories, post graduate offices, lecture theatres and a publicly accessible atrium and conference exhibition space.
Providing a natural link to the existing building’s timber gable roof structure and timber windows, Boral Timber’s KDF27 product in Blackbutt species was chosen as a cladding and joinery treatment and used predominantly in the public areas within the CCER facility. Blackbutt timber linings and details were selected for a contemporary ‘vestibule tube’ which connects the east and west entries of the building. Blackbutt timber battens were used in the construction of four fully functioning thermal chimney stacks which hang above the main atrium. The battens, in association with scrim cloth backing, were also incorporated into wall and ceiling linings as an acoustic control, to absorb direct sound in both the public areas and the lecture theatre.
Michael McPherson, Senior Associate with Suters Architects said, “The design intent was to clearly differentiate the old from the new through material choices and detailing, while also maintaining the integrity of the original building.
“As a natural and locally produced material, timber was the ideal choice due to its conceptual link to the building’s function of providing empirical data to assess the impact of climate change on Australia’s land and water resources. The Blackbutt species was selected for its longevity, durability and versatility. Its golden yellow and pale brown colours worked well with other material selections, providing a perfect balance to the rich, earthy textures of the brickwork on the existing structure. The selection of Boral’s Australian Forestry Standard certified timber was also a critical element in addressing sustainability considerations.”
The design team worked with the contractor, client and sub contractors to determine the most efficient methods for the construction of the timber elements.
Robert Gonda from Di Emme Creative Solutions, who designed and installed the thermal chimneys, said, “This project illustrates the distinct way in which timber can be used creatively. Installing the fully functioning thermal chimney stacks was a unique and challenging project for us and required a high level of customisation, including the testing and inspection of prototypes.”
The project design commenced in September 2009 and the building was occupied in March 2011 with the timber elements installed by Di Emme Creative Solutions and Choice Projects. The project was named finalist in the Public Category of the BPN Sustainability Awards 2011.
Boral has achieved Australian Forestry Standard (AFS) chain of custody certification (AS 4707-2006) for its timber products. This means that timber used to produce Boral Timber's hardwood flooring, decking and structural timber has been sourced from certified, legal and sustainably managed resources. AFS Chain of Custody certification is the only chain of custody certification process that is an Australian Standard. The Australian Forestry Standard Scheme also has mutual recognition by the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification Scheme (PEFC) - the world's largest forest management certifier.