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Stainless Steel Leads a Stellar Redevelopment

When Sydney's Star City Casino emerged from the chrysalis of its construction scaffolding, its metamorphosis included a gleaming 340m2 stainless steel-and-glass canopy facing the harbour.

ASSDA Member TripleNine Stainless fabricated and installed the canopy over the main entrance of ‘The Star’, as it is now known, as part of an $850 million redevelopment. This transformation saw Sydney’s only casino swing its orientation 180° from Pyrmont’s fish markets toward the city’s glittering Darling Harbour.

The Star’s façade was designed by Fitzpatrick + Partners and is comprised of 147 flags of clear, low-iron glass supported by two fingers of 20mm and 166mm plate stainless steel. The surfboard-shaped canopy is 40m x 8.5m and made of 300 nominal bore pipe with a lattice effect created by 100 x 50 rectangular hollow sections. All 18 tonnes of stainless steel is 316 grade and was supplied by ASSDA sponsor, Atlas Steels.

Peter Petro, the site architect for the project, says stainless steel was the obvious choice from both a practical and an aesthetic point of view. ‘From a practical perspective, we chose stainless steel because it’s so close to the water and we needed something that was resilient.’

In terms of aesthetics, Petro says they wanted a high-quality finish for the front of the building and stainless steel was a prime choice. ‘We also had a lot of lighting design so we wanted something that would bounce the light around. We were able to give the stainless steel a polish that also matched the glass façade upstairs. This gives it a playfulness at night and a high finish during the day.’

TripleNine’s Director, Justin Brooks, says electropolishing wasn’t an option because of the massive size of the canopy. ‘Instead, it was polished to 400 grit then passivated with an Avesta product.’

Brooks says the project's engineers and designers, Yuanda, employed a Feng Shui expert to sign off on the canopy before
it was built at TripleNine’s purpose-hired workshop. ‘The basic geometry came from the client but we did the design detailing because of all the different shapes and angles,‘ explains Brooks.

The $1.4 million canopy project commenced in August 2010 and was completed in January 2011 with about 15 people assigned to the project. The canopy was built in one piece and transported with a police escort in the dead of the night on the back of a truck with front and rear steering. Installation took only two days, says Brooks.

During the design-detailing phase, TripleNine employed 3-D modelling and Yuanda’s engineers gave careful consideration to expansion and
contraction. ‘Because [the canopy] was so big, we needed to include some bridge building technology,’ says Brooks. ‘We used expansion pads as the canopy was calculated to expand up to 50mm across the total length of it.’

‘The Star’ is a bright, light addition to the harbourside landscape. While the elements of Feng Shui can’t be guaranteed to produce financial fortune in The Star’s casinos, the stainless steel canopy is certain to maintain its appeal for decades to come.

Images courtesy of TripleNine Stainless.

This article is featured in Australian Stainless, issue 52.

A Stainless Icon for Brisbane's Skyline

The Fibonacci spiral and the intersecting spines of a nautilus shell have inspired an impressive 23m high stainless steel sculpture at Kangaroo Point Park overlooking Brisbane's river.

Designed by UK public space artist Wolfgang Buttress, Venus Rising features 10,790 individual welds and over 7km of grade 316 and 2205 duplex stainless steel tube, pipe and round bar supplied by ASSDA Sponsor, Sandvik.

Having worked with stainless steel for over 25 years, Buttress said that the material’s strength, ability to look good over time with minimal maintenance, and the flexibility of finishes works well both practically and aesthetically.

“The variety of finishes which can be achieved with stainless steel through polishing, glass blasting and heat treatment is great. The material needs to be strong, resilient and look as good in 50 years as it does on installation,” Buttress said.

Initial fabrication works took place in the UK before being transported to Brisbane for final assembly. D&R Stainless, an ASSDA member and Accredited Fabricator, continued the fabrication of the 11.5 tonne spire-like sculpture over a period of six weeks. It used the artistic vision of Buttress, as well as renders and 3D models to guide the assembly of the sculpture.

The central design of the sculpture was to create a piece of artwork that was visibly prominent and exemplified strength, elegance and weightlessness. The sculpture features a criss cross ladder-type construction with heavy wall pipes that gently twist to create a hollow spiral. Visitors can enter the sculpture at the base level and gaze up at the sky through an opening at the top.

“I wanted to make connections between the Brisbane River and the sky above. It was important to me that the sculpture works on an intimate scale as well as being seen from afar,” Buttress said.

“Visually, the most challenging part of the project was to try and maintain harmony between form and sculpture. I wanted the piece to have a delicacy but also be strong.”

The main structure of the sculpture features 2205 duplex stainless with cladding tubes at the bottom of the structure starting at 12mm, ascending to 8mm and 10mm tube through the middle and 6mm and 8mm solid round bar at the top. Tubes were supplied in 6m lengths and welded together to create continuous lines of tubing for the stretch of the sculpture.

12mm thick stainless steel tubes in the skeleton of the structure extend about half way up and were heat treated in a stress relieving oven. This transformed the colour of the steel into a golden hue to create a contrast effect in the sculpture.

“We cut 30 to 40 small lengths of stainless steel at various thicknesses and baked them at different temperatures from 100˚ C up to 400˚ C. After comparing the various shades and hues, I chose the golden colour in the end which required heating to around 300˚ C,” Buttress said.
Grade 316 polished stainless steel tubing was used for the middle cladding on the exterior of the structure.

Stainless steel rings were laser cut from LDX 2101 plate in various thicknesses from 20mm down to 3mm, and welded to the body of the sculpture to create an intricate lace-like effect.

The main structure was bead blasted to create a uniform finish and all tubes were chemically cleaned.

Both TIG and MIG welding processes were used, with both solid wire and flux cord used in the MIG welding technique. Di-penetration testing was conducted offsite on the welding of the body of the sculpture to ensure structural integrity.

D&R Stainless director Karl Manders said that while fabricating stainless steel was familiar territory, the application was different and stimulating.
“We found the project intriguing because while we were producing a delicate structure, the core components of the fabrication were quite complex. Our business focuses on heavy industrial applications, and the materials we used for Venus Rising are those used in the heart of the mining and petrochemical industries,” Manders said.

“The experience of this project was intense but satisfying. We made Wolfgang’s vision come to life.”

Buttress said D&R Stainless was a perfect fit for the project and they will also be on board for an upcoming sculpture for The University of Canberra.

“Their understanding of the properties of stainless steel was second to none and their craftsmanship exemplary. It was great to witness such pride in their workmanship,” Buttress said.

Commissioned by the Queensland Government, Venus Rising was selected in a public vote as the winning design from over 60 submissions and was unveiled in late January 2012.

Photographer: David Sandison. Images courtesy of The State of Queensland, Department of Housing and Public Works.

This article is featured in Australian Stainless magazine, issue 51.

Chimpanzee Sanctuary

Where Strength Meets Style

Innovation in zoo enclosure design is a key feature of the recently completed $7.5 million makeover of the Chimpanzee Sanctuary at Sydney’s Taronga Zoo.

The project brief was to create a chimpanzee habitat akin to their native home that would encourage social interaction and allow the zoo’s primate keepers to manage animal husbandry and the group’s changing demographic. The enclosure’s transparency and the ability to withstand the chimpanzee’s remarkable strength and intelligence were essential.

ASSDA member Ronstan Tensile Architecture was contracted by the builder, the Lipman Group, to be the specialist contractor for the technical design and installation of a mesh enclosure and non-climbable wall. Ronstan’s unique capability in tensile architecture and their technical expertise were a natural fit for this challenging project designed by Jackson Teece Architects.

The Sanctuary features the mesh separation paddock (similar to an aviary), at one end of the main exhibit. A non-climbable wall with a removable curtain, allows both spaces to function as one large paddock. This enables introductions of new chimpanzees into the compound and helps manage the apes’ complex behaviour patterns.

Ronstan Tensile Architecture’s General Manager, Rowan Murray, said the non-climbable wall structure was one of the most the challenging design aspects.

“The architect’s greatest challenge was to separate the chimpanzees physically, but still have them all in view in the paddock. We had to build a wall that was transparent, had openings of no more than 5mm to avoid chimpanzees putting their fingers in and climbing, and could withstand the strength of chimpanzees.” Mr Murray said.

The structural complexity of the non-climbable wall required 3D modelling to analyse design configurations and ensure structural integrity. Test panels of the non-climbable wall were fabricated and assessed in the chimpanzees’ temporary enclosure to determine which would offer the safest containment of the site and minimise visibility.

Mr Murray said the primary structure for the wall consists of a Ronstan supplied tensile cable net that supports semi-transparent perforated stainless steel panels.

“Most materials can be damaged, but the durability of stainless steel panels of certain perforation proved to be the right solution and important in the development of the overall design,” he said.

“The non-climbable wall had been designed with wall panels clamped directly to the enclosure mesh face. In a collaborative effort, we changed this to an independent cable net structure to remove the risk of having the final wall shape differ from that modelled, and in doing so, avoided the risk of panel geometry differing from the complex 10 degree incline necessary for non-climbability. This also ensured uniform set out and fixing methods, more consistent panel shapes and allowed the panel geometry to drive the wall structure rather than this being determined by other elements.”

ASSDA member, Locker Group, supplied the grade 304 stainless steel panels, which were perforated to 50%. A black painted finish was applied before installation.

With stringent performance characteristics to adhere to, including long-term corrosion resistance and aesthetics, Carl Stahl X-Tend stainless steel mesh was specified for the separation enclosure and the removable curtain within the non-climbable wall. The stainless steel mesh was blackened using an electrolytic process to increase transparency of the enclosure.

Trevor Williams, Lead Consultant of Jackson Teece and Project Architect for the development, said materials selection was critical in delivering the aesthetic appeal and longevity of the enclosure.

“We spoke with Ronstan Tensile Architecture for technical design advice in the early stages of the project. There were various other types of meshes that were a possibility but, being a dynamic structure, alternate materials were far too rigid and not as flexible as the Carl Stahl X-Tend stainless steel mesh. I don’t think we could have achieved this outcome with any other mesh,” Mr Williams said.

“The stainless steel will have a longer life in the aggressive south-facing coastal environment. The blackened mesh has a fantastic form and from an architectural point of view, has achieved an organic appearance.”

Ronstan Tensile Architecture’s contribution to the project, including the tensile mesh enclosure and non-climbable wall, cost about $1.2 million and took 16 weeks to construct.

Mr Murray said the stainless steel demonstrates a great mix of strength and transparency, and the end tensile result is very forgiving.

“Achieving the architectural intent involved complex modelling and finite analysis of the mesh form to ensure the surrounding structures could be designed to support the enclosure loads. Ronstan is absolutely rapt with the state-of-the-art structure,” he said.

The paddock was completely re-landscaped and the impressive exhibit also now features several climbing platforms at varying heights of up to 12 metres, and a 180 kilogram hammock for the chimpanzees to enjoy.

The 17 lucky Taronga Zoo chimpanzees moved in to their renovated home in late September 2011.

QUANTITIES AND GRADES OF STAINLESS STEEL USED

›    Mesh enclosure 770m² of 3mm Ø x 60mm blackened stainless steel, grade 316 Carl Stahl X-Tend mesh.
›    Non-climbable wall facade 140m² of grade 304 stainless steel perforated to 50%, with a black painted finish.
›    Cables 1x19 construction 8mm, 12mm and 22mm diameter, grade 316 stainless steel cables. The stainless steel cable end fittings and  components were polished and passivated prior to installation.

Images courtesy of Ronstan Tensile Architecture.

This article features in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 50, Summer 2011/12.

Reflected Glory

Stainless steel’s star has ascended in the public’s conscience as thousands of Westfield Sydney shoppers enjoy the world-class design and materials on show in its newest retail development.

Covering 103,000m2, the $1.2 billion Westfield Sydney development is bound by the Pitt Street Mall and Market and Castlereagh Streets in the heart of Sydney’s CBD. It integrates Westfield Centrepoint, the Centrepoint Convention Centre, Imperial Arcade and Skygarden, plus a new office tower at 85 Castlereagh Street and an extensively modified and refurbished tower at 100 Market Street.

While the size of the project is enormous, it’s the design that’s turning heads. With a nod to lauded international developments in Paris and Frankfurt, the architects of Westfield Sydney have created a stunning environment that makes extensive use of mirror and hairline finished stainless steel in the interior spaces.

Stainless steel was chosen by Westfield’s architects to create a very upmarket, stylish environment for shoppers. In addition to meeting the design intent, stainless steel also offers durability and ease-of-use during construction.

ASSDA Accredited Townsend Group was chosen to design, fabricate and install stainless steel elements throughout the complex, a task it was confident to undertake due to its experience delivering exceptional quality products to exacting clients, such as Apple Inc.

Townsend was awarded the following elements using only 316 grade stainless steel:

›    8,500m2 of mirror-finished stainless steel troughs and particle board infills in the feature ceilings on levels 3 and 4
›    Composite stainless steel panel cladding of the escalators on all levels
›    Black glass and mirror-finished stainless steel on the escalator soffits in void 4
›    Hairline-finished stainless steel composite panel cladding in voids 1 to 10
›    Mirror-finished stainless steel cladding of the elliptical column in void 1 from levels 1 to 5.

The project’s innovative design and engineering required the use of Townsend’s Vee-Cutter, the only one of its type in Australia, to create a very tight radii on the corners on some of the architectural elements. No additional services or treatments were required before or after installation as the stainless steel was procured with a protective film that remained on the product through the manufacturing process until the installation was complete.

Townsend Managing Director and CEO Russ Hill stated that the company was excited when selected for this prestigious development. The complexity of the project presented many challenges which Townsend was able to meet through its skill and experience, resulting in a finish which met the brief set by Westfield and its architects.

Images courtesy of Townsend Group.

This article is featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 50, Summer 2011/12.

Stainless Afloat

Synergy of Lightness and Strength

Artist Wendy Mills’ interest in an ancient Sumerian myth helped bring her vision to reality for a stainless steel sculpture at Willoughby City Council’s new cultural centre.

Described as the cultural home of the North Shore, The Concourse (Chatswood, NSW) incorporates a concert hall, theatre, library, outdoor urban screen, restaurants and retail stores.

Council worked through Pamille Berg Consulting to commission Ms Mills to create an artwork for the library’s water court, which is located below ground level. The 6.1m sculpture, fabricated by ASSDA Accredited Fabrications Australia, is visible from above as well as from within the library.

Fabrications Australia fabricated the sculpture from 50mm x 50mm x 3mm square hollow sections of grade 316 stainless steel and applied a mirror polish. The joins were TIG welded and carefully ground smooth to ensure a high quality finish.

The sculpture is mounted on a ‘blade’ made from 12mm grade 316 plate that was painted to reduce visibility within the water, so the sculpture appears to float on the surface. As the support structure is bolted into the floor immediately above a carpark, extensive water proofing was required.

Ms Mills said the sculpture was more than 2 years in the making from when it was first conceived. Fabrications Australia and Consulting Engineer, Bernie Davis from Opus, worked together with her design to overcome challenges such as the structural support and ensure a proper balance of geometry, constructability and aesthetics.

Mr Davis said it was the team focus on this total balance that ensured a happy client.

Fabrications Australia Director Shannon Molenaar said the project was a true collaboration that evolved over time. Key issues for the fabrication team were structural integrity and long-term durability.

Ms Mills said she chose to work with stainless steel because no coatings were required. She wanted a mirror finish as it requires very little maintenance and it reflects the environment, making the artwork seem lighter.

For this piece, she envisaged a form of transport halfway between a plane and a boat that would sit lightly on the surface of the water as if it is about to take off, yet from above it would appear like a winged insect that has just landed. Her goal was to create a ‘stillness’ – a space for reflection, transition and transformation.

She said her initial concepts of a sky boat and transition tied in beautifully with the Sumerian myth of Inanna and the location within the library water court in the cultural precinct. According to the myth, Inanna (the queen of heaven) travels in her sky-boat to visit Enki (the lord of wisdom) who lives in a watery abyss and gives Inanna divine decrees to transform her city into a new centre of civilisation and culture.

The end result of this successful collaboration is an artwork that purveys a sense of peacefulness while showcasing the versatility and durability of stainless steel in a water environment.

Images courtesy of Wendy Mills.

This article is featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 50, Summer 2011/12.

Chifley stands the test of time

Sydney's recently redeveloped Chifley Square now pays tribute to its namesake in a dramatic, yet personable, manner - an 8m tall stainless steel sculpture of Ben Chifley towers over the square, forming part of City of Sydney's capital works program in the lead up to the Sydney 2000 Olympics.

Chifley_3Sydney artist Simeon Nelson designed 'Ben Chifley' and a glass and stainless steel wall on the site while working as part of the multi-disciplinary design team involved in the site's $3 million redevelopment. Hassell architects (Sydney) were given open guidelines for the design of the site, but two of the objectives were to see Chifley appropriate recognised and to provide a windbreak on the Hunter Street side of the square.

Nelson specified 5 tonnes of 20mm grade 316 stainless plate for two cut-out images of the former war-time treasurer and the post-war Labor prime minister. The plates are positioned in parallel and bolted to a stainless frame, allowing 1mm tolerances.

Nelson designed the sculpture in stainless steel because of its long-term durability. He also felt the material was appropriate because it is often used as an industrial product and Chifley kick-started industrial growth after the war.

The sculpture was fabricated by CBD Prestige Metal Works (Sydney) from material supplied by Sandvik Australia (Smithfield, NSW). After shotblasting by IMP (Sydney), the final surface finishing and passivating was carried out by BHM Stainless Technology Group (Keon Park, Vic) using a specialised process developed by the company for unusual projects of this nature.

Chifley_wallSimilarly impressive is the 'Lightwall, Crucimatrilux' (also fabricated by CBD), which incorporates panes of transparent glass bolted together on nine stainless frames made of 74mm x 20mm bar with a mill finish. Because of the fine tolerances required, dowel and glue were used instead of welds to hold the frames together.

The 10.8m long and 3.2m tall wall serves a structural function as an extension of the back wall of the cafe and also acts as a wind shelter. visually, it provides a contrast with cafe's wall, which is made from white coated glass.

The redevelopment of the site, which is semi-circular in shape and divided in half by Philip Street, was aimed at unifying the two spaces to reflect the original intent of the site's 1937 design. Together, the Lightwall and Chifley sculpture form part of an impressive, contemporary response to historic town planning.

This article featured in Australian Stainless Issue 11, March 1998.

Stainless Relief for Public Buildings

A stainless steel mesh sculpture created by jeweller/designer, Barbara Heath is a focal point of the Neville Bonner Building in Brisbane. 

Stainless steel was chosen for the sculpture for its durability and low maintenance properties. This was important because the sculpture is mounted on the building exterior, exposed to marine weather conditions.

The 'high tech', contemporary look that was achieved with stainless also compliments the other metals used on the building.

The themes of the seven metre artwork are office networks, family links and team work. It refers to the history of the area with the design reflecting fishing nets that were used by local aboriginals.

The work features stainless steel rings intertwined into a net structure, based on a traditional chain mail construction technique used in chain jewellery making.

Because it sits in front of a window, different perspectives and understandings of the work can be gained depending on the viewing angle. It can be viewed from the interior of the building, against the surrounding landscape, or through openings in the building which frame it against the sky.

The sculpture is constructed out of grade 316 stainless steel and was fabricated by Haylock Sheet Metal. Flat links of round bar were rolled and interlinked to form the mesh structure.

It is one of four artworks that were commissioned by the Department of Public Works for the Neville Bonner building. Architects Davenport Campbell and Donovan Hill worked closely with the artists to ensure that the artworks were an integral part of the building's design, yet remained equally impressive as stand alone pieces.

Although not typical for government public works, projects of this nature will become more prevalent in the future. It is expected that the Queensland government's art policy, which states that 2% of the budget for all public buildings must be spent on public art, will encourage building designers, architects and artists to work closely on integrating artworks into the design of all public buildings.

This article featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 13, May 1999.

Everlasting Trees Reflect a Shade of Christmas

As we pack up our Christmas decorations, vow to lose those extra kilos gained over the holidays and make plans for the new year, the festive season seems so long ago - not so far for travellers and pedestrians on St Kilda Road in Melbourne.

Perched in front of Central Equity's three new apartment buildings are 12 three metre tall stainless steel trees which, although not specifically designed as Christmas trees, have stylised conical shapes that have a distinctly Christmas 'feel' about them.

Central Equity commissioned Phillip Naughton of Design Inferno to design the trees to complement the prestigious $123 million complex.

"Trees were specifically chosen for the design to reflect the living trees on the boulevard in front of the building," Mr Naughton said.

"They also add a human element to the complex. Because the buildings are 24 stories high, the architects, the Span Group, paid close attention to the surrounding landscape to ensure that they would not be imposing.

"We worked closely with the Span Group when designing the trees so that they would add to the feel of the complex," Mr Naughton said "In fad, unless you look straight up, you don't realise the scale of the buildings because their surrounds are so comfortable."

Stainless steel was chosen for the design for its inherent qualities.

"The design brief specified that the trees had to be low maintenance. Stainless steel fitted this brief as well as adding other qualities such as simplicity and the sense of movement that could be achieved through different surface finishes," Mr Naughton said.

"As one side of each tree is mirror finished, with the other side satin finished, they reflect the seasonal colours of the living trees on the boulevard. They have changed from reflecting little colour through the winter months when the deciduous trees were without leaves, to reflecting the lush green growth of spring."

According to Joe Delacruz of DBM Industries, the trees' fabricator, welding was the most difficult aspect of the fabrication.

"The design of the trees made them susceptible to buckling during welding," Mr Delacruz said.

"To add to the difficulty, the welds had to be invisible."

As part of the careful planning for the job, DBM first built scale models of the trees from timber.

The trees were laser cut and mirror finished at DBM Industries' facility at Reservoir in Victoria. ASSDA members MME Surface Finishing of Seaford in Victoria did the satin finish.

Each tree is made from approximately 400 kilograms of grade 316 stainless steel sheet set into a concrete base which is covered with a 20mm base plate. They are capped with 10 x 30mm capping. ASSDA members Atlas Steels supplied the stainless for the job.

The trees are located on 150 metres of streetscape on St Kilda Road (near the intersection of Toorak Road).

This article featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 15, February 2000.

Livable Art

A Melbourne artist and designer is using stainless steel to blur the lines between form and functionality. 

Colin Kirkpatrick from Modifie Designs adapts geometric shapes inspired by sculpture to create works that can transform from conversation pieces to coffee tables in seconds.

Cubes and three dimensional rectangular shapes are fabricated from grade 304 stainless steel sheeting welded to a timber subframe, then attached to castors for mobility and versatility.

The custom-sized shapes can be used as either furniture or sculpture and as a single unit or separated into individual pieces.

The Modifie range also includes coffee tables with stainless steel frames contrasted by glass, marble, sandstone or bluestone tops.

As versatile as the cubes, the coffee tables can also be stacked to form shelves and storage units.

Of crucial importance to Kirkpatrick is that as well as being aesthetically pleasing, his work be functional, a criteria met through design and the use of stainless steel.

'I love the cleanliness and exclusive look of stainless," Mr Kirkpatrick said.

"The material complements perfectly the angles, smooth surfaces and form of the furniture."

Each piece is designed and fabricated by Kirkpatrick in his Highett workshop using primarily grade 304 stainless steel, TlG welded top and bottom and polished with a No. 4 finish.

Kirkpatrick's work is available from a number of furniture stores in Sydney and Melbourne, including Orsson & Blake in Sydney, Blend Furniture in Collingwood, Urban Attitude in St Kilda, Crowded House Design in Malvern, Cochrane & Galloway in Hawthorn and Outhouse in Fitzroy.

He plans to extend the range to include multi-fundional, adaptable entertainment units and storage units, all made from stainless steel.

"In my opinion, not many other materials have the exclusivity of appearance and style that stainless steel has," Mr Kirkpatrick said.

Stainless steel used for the furniture is supplied by ASSDA member Dalsteel Stainless.

This article featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 16, August 2000.

Let the Games Begin!

When millions around the world watch the Sydney Olympic Games this September, they will also be experiencing the best of Australian architecture, with particular emphasis on stainless steel.

Stadium Australia, located at Homebush Bay in Sydney's inner city in the centrepiece of the Olympic site. Here, events such as the opening and closing ceremonies and the track and field program will be played out. Closer examination of the sit reveals the use of stainless steel in a myriad of applications, both aesthetic and functional. Perhaps more importantly, the use of stainless steel helps meet the organiser's "green" commitment: to use materials with minimal impact on the environment and designs that reduce waste and conserve resources.

THE STADIUM
Seating 110,000, Stadium Australia is the largest stadium in the history of the Olympic Games. To give an idea of its size, the two main curved trusses span 296 metres and four Boeing 747s would fit side by side under the span of the main arch.

The roofing material was supplied by ASSDA member Atlas Steels (Australia) Pty Ltd, the handrails by ASSDA member Sandvik Australia.

Nineteen lighting towers, representing the number of cities in which the Olympic Games have been held to date, stand like sentinels guarding the entrance to Stadium Australia.

The towers consist mostly of concrete and painted steel, but grade 316 stainless steel rods, 25 millimetres in diameter, provide tension in each corner, while 316 doors and infill panels, with a No. 4 finish, exist at ground level.

The names of each of the cities where the Games have been held are glass-bead blasted on to grade 316 sheet with a No. 4 finish.

These towers each carry solar panels that contribute to the public elecricity grid an amount of power equal to that consumed by the towers at night.

At the bottom of one of the towers is a Munich Memorial to honour the athletes who died at the 1972 Munich Olympics. The memorial consists of three plaques fabricated from grade 316 stainless steel and glass, the names being engraved and paint filled in a surface with a No. 4 finish. Stainless steel channel sections, glass bead blasted on the inside and mirror polished were used around some of the edges.

Spread over six levels, the kitchens at Stadium Australia will see almost as much action as the field! Anticipated to feed about 110,000 people every day during competition, the kitchens have been fitted out with stainless steel equipment including benches, exhaust hoods, 200 deep-fat fryers and 300 upright refrigerators. ASSDA members Curtin Foodservice Equipment Pty Ltd supplied a bulk of the equipment, including over four and a half kilometres of stainless steel benches, 145 stainless steel hi-velocity extraction hoods, 200 deep-fat fryers, bain maries, refrigeration equipment, bulk and plated hot food holding carts and more than 200 mobile trolleys. Grade 304 stainless steel for the equipment was provided by ASSDA member Fagersta Steel.

THE OLYMPIC VILLAGE
Home to 15,000 athletes, officials and coaches during competition, the Olympic Village reflects stainless steel's contribution to the "Green Games". 6,000 kilograms (10,500 square metres) of grade 316 stainless steel mesh were installed to provide a chemical-free termite barrier to over 500 houses in the Village.

Fabricated and installed by Termi-Mesh Sydney Pty Ltd, the stainless steel mesh provides a physical barrier around the building perimeter and is collar clamped to pipes and other entry points. The result is a permanent obstruction to termites that eliminates the use of potentially dangerous chemicals.

OLYMPIC BOULEVARD
Olympic Boulevard, which passes key venues such as Stadium Australia and the Aquatic Centre, features spectacular fountains with stainless steel components.

Water jets, each covered by a grade 316 stainless steel cowl, provide a cascading arch at Fig Grove.

Fabricated grade 316 stainless steel gratings, black chrome plated so they are almost invisible under water, are used as safety screens. Grade 316 sections are also used to ensure the water cascades evenly along the length of the feature and as structural supports.

At the far end of the Boulevard is a fountain featuring lines of tubular water jets. Each jet comprises an inner structure of grade 316 stainless steel tubes clad with 3 millimetre thick 316 sheet, formed into a tapered cylindrical section with a No. 4 finish.

The underground pump house receives fresh air through spiral, welded ducting consisting of 250 millimetre diameter grade 316 stainless steel. A nearby wooden viewing pier has 316 handrails on galvanised steel uprights.

THE TORCH
Perhaps the most evocative symbol of the Games is the Olympic Torch, which carries the flame from Olympia in Greece to Stadium Australia, via the Olympic Torch Relay.

he design of the approximately 1 kilogram, 72 centimetre tall torch includes three layers representing earth, fire and water. The inner layer is polished stainless steel, the middle layer anodized aluminium and the outer layer specially coated aluminium.

Thin grade 316 stainless steel strip was used to form a skin inside the grade 430 stainless steel tube inner layer, acting as a shield against heat, wind and rain. Also, very fine (25 micron opening) 316 stainless steel gauze was installed as a final filter to clean the liquid propane/butane gas mixture that fuels the torch, thereby preventing contaminants from extinguishing the flame.

The torch was fabricated by Sydney firm GA & L Harrington, who produced over 14,000 torches available for purchase by the 10,000 runners participating in the Torch Relay.

This article featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 16, August 2000.

Sensory Escape from an Urban Jungle

A tranquil oasis has been created amid the bustle of Brisbane's Central Business District, with the help of stainless. 

'a tree a rock a cloud', by Brisbane-based artist Barbara Heath, blends symbols of the innovation and achievement of business with images from the area's original landscape.

The five metre long, three and a half metre wide and tall sculpture, located outside Central Plaza Two, features 21 stainless steel 'fins' and a gold titanium-clad stainless steel cloud, all mounted on a stainless steel base plate. The base plate is hidden from view by stones in a pool of water.

The resulting sculpture provides a quiet corner for contemplation away from the noise of the busy inner city.

Ms Heath said she chose stainless steel because of its qualities in capturing the light and movement of the surrounding environment.

"The stainless strudure permits light and casts shadows. It has a shimmering quality that responds to movement and changes in the prevailing light," she said.

Stainless steel was also chosen for its physical qualities.

"I really like the precise engineering that can be achieved with stainless steel," Ms Heath said.

"The light feeling evoked by the appearance of the material makes something very heavy look evanescent."

The fins were constructed from grade 316 stainless steel flat bar, polished to a No.4 finish.

The cloud was fabricated from 5mm grade 316 stainless steel sheet, rolled top and bottom laser cut, joined and welded. Stainless steel pins were inserted in a series of holes throughout the cloud to give it structure and connect the two cloud pieces.

The gold titanium cladding, featuring a patterned sheet finish, was fitted to the top and underside of the cloud with double sided tape.

The base plate was constructed from 10mm grade 316 stainless steel sheet, which was profile cut using plasma technology.

All pieces for the five and a half tonne sculpture were fabricated by ASSDA member G&B Stainless Pty Ltd in their Brisbane workshop and installed on site with the aid of a crane.

Stainless steel flat bar and sheet for the sculpture was supplied by ASSDA member Atlas Steels (Australia) Pty Ltd and Sandvik Australia Pty Ltd.

Ms Heath acknowledged the assistance given by the Australian Stainless Steel Development Association during the project's 18 month duration.

This article featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 17, January 2001.

Monumentally Successful

The first edition of Australian Stainless featured the flagpole which towers over the new Federal Parliament building in Canberra. Ten years on and fifteen years since it was erected, the flagpole is well on the way towards its planned 200 year life. A condition survey was recently carried out by an ASSDA member for the Joint Houses of Parliament Committee.

The statistics: the 81m high structure is constructed mainly from 16mm thick hot rolled 304L plate: the base plates are 321 and the clusters supporting the flagpole proper are unpolished, cast 304 equivalent (CF-8). The four triangular legs rise diagonally for 28m from the top of walls to the east and west, before curving to vertical 4m below the lower cluster. The legs continue for a further 15.5m to the upper cluster and terminate 5.1m above the upper cluster. The circular tapered flagpole extends 25.7m above the upper cluster.

The corner and face welds of the leg plate joins were ground using grits down to #120 to match the bold plate surfaces.

As the flagpole was assembled 18 months before Parliament House was completed, it was exposed to the dust and pollution of a construction site; since Parliament opened it has experienced air quality of a rural environment.

Although quite safe, the inspection required a good head for heights while using a "lie back and enjoy it" lift up one leg or the less steady 7m scissor lift to reach the lower plates of the legs. A 40 power theodolite lent by the ACT Survey Office completed the inspection of inaccessible areas.

SURVEY RESULTS
The overall appearance of the flagpole is outstanding. The rib marks, plate to plate welds and polishing patterns along the legs all add to the visual impact. The multiple heated weld joins are as bright as the rest of the surfaces. Slight deposits at drip points aren't obvious to the casual observer and were easily removed with a damp cloth. The location of these deposits was determined by the prevailing weather.

Encouragingly, neither design crevices nor minor fabrication anomalies have caused obvious corrosion in 15 years' exposure.

Occasional small round rust spots, probably caused by pollution during construction, were visible at a distance of about 30cm. There were fewer spots near the masthead probably due to better rain washing and less pollution. The spots were readily removed with water and a plastic scourer and when examined at X30 did not show pitting. Consistent with surface profile expectations, the unpolished top of the legs showed no signs of spots. Surface profile measurements around the base of the legs showed surface roughness between 1 and 1.5 micrometres with a vertical polish direction.

And the future? 304 is ideal for this environment and with the decision to clean off drip line deposits and monitor selected areas for changes in appearance, it is expected that the flagpole will still be brightly glistening in the sun in 2200.

This article featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 20, February 2002.

Stainless Steel Evokes Korean War

Polished stainless steel poles represent a barren wartime landscape at the Korean War Memorial in Canberra. The history of the conflict is etched in curved stainless steel panels. 

ASSDA member MME Surface Finishing polished 1000 lineal metres of 25 nominal bore schedule 10, grade 316 pipe to make 260 poles standing 3.8m high. These were welded and gusseted to 12mm thick plates, chemically anchored to a concrete slab, by the fabricator, ACT Stainless Steel.

The other main components of the Memorial,also fabricated and installed by ACT and polished by MME, are the curved stainless steel panels inside a central viewing platform, which record the history of the war with maps and illustrations.

There are eight 3000 x 1200 x 3 mm sections and two 3000 x 3000 x 5 mm. The 5 mm sections were formed by TIG welding sheets together, then polishing, as joins were not desirable. The polished finish enabled the welded areas to be blended after joining. The sheets were coated with 80 micron polyethylene film to prevent damage to the polished surface during etching and fabrication.

MME also polished the stainless steel lettering provided by Waterjet Dynamics to a uniform roughness of 0.5 microns.

The whole project was completed under the $1.6million budget, which was raised by Korean War veterans and donations from the two countries.The construction time frame was 23 weeks, and practical completion was achieved 17 April 2000,the day before the dedication ceremony attended by then Governor-General Sir William Deane and Prime Minister John Howard.

The design was by ANKWM Design Group and documentation was completed in conjuction with architectural firm Daryl Jackson Pty Ltd. Manteena Pty Ltd was the project manager.

This article featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 20, February 2002.

 

Stainless Takes Flight

Lightweight stainless steel sheet, polished to a high level of reflectivity, has been chosen to interpret the layered feathers of one of Australia's national icons, the dancing brolga. 

Designing and creating a trio of life-size sculptures has occupied much of Allen Minogue's time since his retirement as an engineer and designer.

The birds, inspired by a visit to the Northern Territory, have cast grade 316 legs and heads and feathers made from 2B finish 316 sheet in four
thicknesses, from 0.55mm to 1.2mm.

The feathers are all individually shaped using a hand guillotine and other hand tools. They are then screwed into a fibreglass body moulded from a wooden carving. The first figure, which took 700 hours to complete, has 700 feathers. The poses are realistic, with the central male bird
captured at the moment of taking flight.

This article featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 22, September 2002.

 

Stainless Memorial to Rail Workers

Stainless steel responds admirably to the strength and durability imperatives of public art at the Ipswich Workshops Rail Museum, opened to the public earlier this month.

The Workshops began operations in the 1860s and initially assembled components imported from England, but by the early 1900s railway stock was being manufactured from the ground up. During the peak employment period of the 1950s there were over 3 000 workers. To reflect the Workshops’ importance in shaping the identity of the town of Ipswich, west of Brisbane, the design brief called for a monument concentrating on the social history of the Workshops and the contribution of the vast number of workers, interpreted in a contemporary framework.

In response, Brisbane sculptor Brad Nunn designed MARKER, a curving stainless steel column bearing the words spirit and presence,studded with numbered discs representing individual workers.

Each worker had a disc resembling a dog tag known as a check, which he collected from the foreman on arrival at work. He used the check throughout the day, for example to borrow tools, and returned it when clocking off. Railway authorities calculated the workers’ pays by seeing which checks had been collected each day.

Nunn obtained a first-hand account of life at the Workshops from his father, an apprentice there in the late 1940s. He chose the text to communicate the strong spirit of place he felt when touring the Workshops and selected a photo of payday, 16 July 1924, which was reproduced at eye-level using laser marking to retain tonal variations.

Nunn, who has been practicing artist since graduating from the Queensland College of Arts in 1990, has previously designed public artworks
using aluminium. He chose stainless steel for this project because it fulfilled the brief’s requirements for durability, longevity and vandal-resistance.

Fabrication of the sculpture was carried out over 300 hours by two staff members of ASSDA member Stoddart Metal Fabricators. The 3m high structure weighs about 1 tonne. Grade 316 plate in 10mm thickness was used; the hundreds of round recesses were milled out and the column bead-blasted and finished with a no.4 vertical polish. Approximately 600 checks are attached to the sculpture and another 600 appear to have been dislodged and are glued to the concrete base around MARKER.

This article featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 22, September 2002.

Stainless, Sun and Air

Stainless steel is well-known as a versatile and attractive medium for large scale public artworks. Two recent projects by Perth’s Stusha Studio make use of different treatments of the material to deliver attention-grabbing results.

INSPIRED BY NATURE
The Armadale Kelmscott Memorial Hospital in WA commissioned shade structures in two courtyards and Stusha Studio responded with four elements, representing a flower, a seed, a leaf and a fruit, inspired by the orchards of the area and the seasons. The structures provide a shadow-play on the courtyard floors and walls, blushing the areas with shade.

The elements are made of stainless steel mesh, rod and square tube and are suspended at 4.4m. The material supply of grades 316 and 304 and support from ASSDA member Stirling Stainless Steel was crucial to the production of the work, fabricated at Stusha Studio and Art Engineering.

As the shades were installed after the hospital was complete, they were made in sections and re-assembled like a kite inside the courtyards. Because the rib-work for the shade structures was garnet-blasted, installation required care to avoid scuffing and this was provided in ample amounts by Damien Costello at Tension Structures.

COLOUR AND MOVEMENT
Hale School in Wembley, WA commissioned a sculptural interpretation of the theme ‘young hearts run free’. Stusha Studio created four stainless steel winged figures, grounded in four points but able to move with the wind, suggesting freedom no matter what the conditions.

The figures are on internal bearings that allow the whole structure to respond to the breeze. Because of their different dimensions the figures move at varying rates, producing an ever-changing kinetic sculpture.

The wings are made entirely of grade 304 stainless steel, cold forged under the largest hammer in the southern hemisphere at Ferrous Forging in Sunshine, Victoria. The sheets were heated by torch, rippled and fabricated by Kevin Burnett at Red Falcon in collaboration with Stusha Studio, in Melbourne. The wings were then shipped to Perth and combined with the rotating shaft, designed by Michael Ong and machined by Medical Engineering.

STAINLESS FOR PUBLIC ART
In carrying out these and other commissions, Stusha Studio has chosen to use stainless steel to deliver artistic concepts because of its robust quality and the easy access to technical advice and expertise. As an artistic material, stainless steel is versatile in the decorative treatments it supports. Text and graphics can be etched into the surface and paint filled if desired, while forging opens up a whole range of colours and effects.

This article featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 22, September 2002.

Sheer Delight

Stainless Steel Mesh

Woven metal fabrics are a popular architectural product in Europe, where stainless steel mesh is used for a high-level finish in many internal and external settings, such as wall and ceiling panelling, space dividers, external cladding and facades.

Now Sydney firm Interspace Manufacturing Pty Ltd is making and installing woven stainless steel wire mesh screens using metal fabrics from iO Metal Fabrics Pty Ltd, a German firm with an Australian presence and a member of ASSDA.

ASSDA member Interspace has been designing and manufacturing store fittings and custom fixtures for displays and exhibitions since 1970. The firm began utilising stainless steel mesh two years ago and has produced partitions for a number of interiors, including the AMP Building in Sydney and the office of medical supply firm B. Braun, designed by Leffler Simes Architects. Another project is Space 207 in St Leonards, Sydney, which is being billed as "the North Shore's finest office building, so advanced it is destined to lead the way in business premises for a long time to come." The designers of Space 207 set out to create an environment representing "style, sophistication and elegance" and chose stainless steel mesh to complement the building's hi-tech, ultra-modern decor.

Woven stainless steel fabrics are versatile and reliable. Made from corrosion-resistant grade 316 stainless, they are equally at home in hostile external locations requiring stainless steel's hard-wearing capability and in internal spaces where aesthetic values come to the fore. They can be put to a variety of uses, including partitions, wall and ceiling cladding, awnings and sunscreens. In Germany they are also employed in roadside noise reduction barriers.

Stainless mesh is lightweight but strong and it is extremely resilient when subjected to environmental threats such as heavy weather, fire and chemicals.

Like textiles generally, metal fabrics are woven on a loom, producing an attractive array of patterns and textures in a varying degrees of weight and flexibility.

This article featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 23, December 2002.

Stainless delivers the wow factor

A decor has to be unique to stand out among the trendy cafes and nightclubs in Park Road, Milton, one of Brisbane’s most fashionable locations, and it certainly has to possess the wow factor to compete with the multitude of sensory experiences which greet clubbers out to see the latest bands and DJs.

A unique interior, using stainless steel, which would wow the patrons, was the brief SOBAR NightClub owner Darren Perris gave Brisbane fabricator Klein Architectural, along with just 48 hours for concept, design and installation before opening night.

The mission was accomplished with patterned stainless surfaces to capitalise on the venue’s electric blue lighting and generate myriad shifting reflections, creating the perfect high-energy setting for the pounding beats and sinuous rhythms of the nightclub scene.

Working within a budget of around $8,000, Klein used 13 sheets of 0.9mm thick, grade 304 stainless with a 2B finish, supplied by ASSDA member Fagersta Steels, to line the bulkhead and square columns of the bar area. This was set off with 65mm round mirror polished tube at the rear of the bulkhead.

Following straightforward fabrication using glue and screwed fixings for the skinning, a heavy metal look was achieved by gluing the heads of cup bolts over counter-sunk screws.

Stainless panels on the columns were linished horizontally in a heavy grain and customised patterning was applied to the stainless steel skins of external and interior bulkheads and corners of the columns.

The end result is a shining example of stainless steel being used artistically and functionally without compromising either purpose.

This article featured in Australian Stainless Issue 24 - March 2003.

"Dancing Wall" - Colour & Movement in Stainless

To symbolise the wetlands landscape of the Nundah area in Brisbane’s north, sculptor Daniel Della Bosca sought out materials which best convey the fluidity and reflectivity of water and the reedy texture of waterside vegetation.

His choice was 316 stainless steel, finished with specialised surface treatments, combined with translucent blue glass and earthed in basalt.

“Dancing Wall” was commissioned by Brisbane City Council (BCC) as part of its program of Suburban Centre Improvement Projects (SCIPs) which aim to improve economic vitality, focus on community life and enrich local activity. The Nundah SCIP is one of the larger projects in the scheme with a budget of $2.5m.

The artwork is a sculptural balustrade set on the hilltop at the corner of Buckland Street and Sandgate Road. Its design symbolises the local environment which was once rich in waterholes and is now the focus of BCC and Wildlife Preservation Society rehabilitation initiatives.

According to Della Bosca, the piece is not just about the past: the materials and design provide an inspirational link to the future.

The client has expressed satisfaction with the completed project, with Deputy Mayor Councillor Quinn commenting that it fulfills the Council’s objectives of “good design and creative activity to build a prosperous city.”

FABRICATION

“Dancing Wall” was fabricated by Della Bosca in grade 316 stainless plate, flat bar and rod supplied by ASSDA member Austral Wright Metals. It houses five panels of slumped and toughened ‘azurelite’ glass, made by artist Shar Moorman, internally illuminated by concealed LED lighting.

Most of the structure was fabricated from rolled stock to bring an organic quality to the design. The intricate forming was carried out by local firm BJR Metal Rolling & Pressing who specialise in rolling compound curves.

SURFACE FINISH

Integral to the design are the surface treatments which suggest reed and water textures. ASSDA member Australian Industrial Abrasives helped to investigate the products, appropriate tooling and techniques to achieve the desired effects. The finishing on larger areas was completed with a Dynacushion on a variable speed sander polisher, using abrasive belts in a range from P80 to P150 Zirconia/Alox and finishing with 3M Blue Scotchbrite. The tighter, more intricate areas were finished using a Dynafile and various contact arms and the same range of abrasive belts.

An easily achievable, cost-effective maintenance schedule using an activated surfactant cleaner quarterly and a passivation gel as required has been implemented by Brisbane City Council.

The cleaning agent removes oil, grease and dirt, and also removes surface free iron which may cause discolouration or more serious corrosion.

This step is followed by a passivation gel which chemically generates the chrome oxide passive film on the surface to enhance corrosion resistance for stainless steel installed in high corrosion environments.

ARTISTIC POSSIBILITIES

Della Bosca says the qualities of stainless steel can best be conveyed by allowing the material to interact with light. “As fabricators well know it is easy to ‘muddy’ the surface of stainless, but if care is taken and correct procedures followed, the metal can give opportunities to a surface finisher.

“I work with the stainless to allow it to speak of more than itself. This is much more important to me than trying to force a finish.”

This article featured in Australian Stainless Issue 24 - March 2003.

Sculpting Stainless Steel Mesh with Stone

When Canberra-based Artist, Anna Eggert began sculpting with stainless steel wire mesh two years ago she tried every tool to model the material with little success. 

Almost giving up on completing her installation, Eggert reached for a stone and began attacking the 316 mesh in frustration .... with extraordinary results.

The primitive stone became the perfect tool for modelling the wire mesh into soft folds to resemble drapery.

This modelling skill exploits the material to create smooth flowing lines of a garment pressed against a feminine body. It is an effect that effectively breathes life into material to create the illusion of steel 'blowing in the breeze'.

Metal Mesh in Terry Hills, NSW supplied the sculptor with 0.56mm diameter wire mesh with an aperture of 1mm for strength and rigidity. However, various other sizes are often used to create different visual effects.

Two layers of different size mesh can produce a moire effect, with the lines shimmering in and around the material. In the shade, the mesh becomes transparent and in the sun it shines and glitters, it has a life of it's own.

"I was really lucky to stumble upon Wire Mesh Industries in North Ryde (Sydney). They knit stainless steel wire into all kinds of knitted things, car parts, filters and cables, which make beautiful ribbons and belts", says Eggert.

The works are all put together with 3mm stainless steel rivets supplied by Specialty Fasteners in Canberra.

Anna Eggert was recently a finalist in the National Sculpture Prize at the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra. Her latest work "Belinda's Wedding" features a five piece bridal party. The work will be on show until March 2004 as part of a major exhibition of Australian sculpture at the McClelland Gallery in Langwarrin, Victoria.

Photos by David Paterson and Anna Eggert.

This article featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 26, November 2003.