Award for Excellence 2018, General

The new Oran Park Library & Community Resource Centre underwent an AUD$13.8million development in late 2017 – early 2018. We were contracted for the design & construction of the ETFE façade at the front of the library. The facade, apart from offering architectural aesthetic, also provides an effective solar barrier.

The structure features a series of triangular 2-layer ETFE cushions, alternating in colour and direction, in red, yellow, white and translucent foil with a standard frit pattern print.

The development plan had an artwork requirement specified, so the client was after a functional façade that also satisfied the criteria of structural artwork. A structure such as the Oran Park ETFE façade is considered a piece of architectural artwork as it includes elements of creativity amid the constraints of a functional piece of engineering.

The Oran Park project required an art architectural ETFE façade to compliment the new AUD$13.8million library and community centre being built as part of a voluntary planning agreement between UrbanGrowth NSW, Greenfields Development Company, and Camden Council.

It was installed 3 meters in front of the main glass wall of the library as a barrier from the Western sun. The purpose is for the ETFE Façade to block a majority of the heat before reaching the main façade of the library and any redundant heat would disappear within the 3m gap. This still maintains high light levels in the building whilst keeping the library cooler.

Although functionality was the primary motive of the structure, the architectural intent was to be a distinctive piece of artwork that the local community would be proud of.

The installation for the façade was quite unique. A plan was developed to assemble the whole steel structure/frame and ETFE cushions at ground level, then install it using one crane lift. Some of the ETFE cushions were inflated before the lift which allowed for faster installation.

Obtaining specialised ETFE colours for the yellow-gold and red pillows was complex due to the small amount of each foil required for the design. There is a lack of symmetry along the façade, meaning most pillows have custom dimensions and complicated nodes where they all meet.

The ducting system for the cushions has been designed so that each cushion is connected to its predecessor, so that the air works its way vertically down the façade through each cushion. This removes the need for an aesthetic large ducting system. The plenum sits neatly and discreetly along the top of the structure. None of the pillows sit independently.

The steel framing was adapted to lighten the overall weight of the structure with a custom profile, and RHS steelwork around the outside. The custom steel profile allows for connection details and specialised central node connections. Each connection where the corners of the ETFE cushion triangles meet are all different because the symmetry of the triangles is different.

Everything went according to plan for the Oran Park Library project! The façade looks incredible, and the client was very happy with the result. The South-West suburb of Sydney has seen some tremendous economic, social and residential growth in the last 5-10 years, so it was exciting to be a part of the suburbs development.