TENSILE ELEMENTS SUPPORT GREEN DESIGN
In realising a key element of their vision for the award-winning Dandenong Government Services Offices (DGSO) development, Architects HASSELL consulted with Ronstan Tensile Architecture. Ronstan’s expertise provided an engineered answer to the design question: how can we make nature part of the fitout of this Six Star Green Star building?’
Ronstan’s tensile stainless steel cables and other Ronstan elements were used to construct the project’s greening systems: four reception area greenwalls, seat planters in the pocket atria, and vertical and horizontal trellises in the Loggia section.
“All in all, there are over 400 individual Ronstan stainless steel cable assemblies and several custom manufactured steelwork items used in this project,” said Ronstan Tensile Architecture Spokesman, Rafael Katigbak.
HASSELL Architects’ designs are always creative and challenging – Ronstan’s involvement from the early stages of the project ensured that the design was buildable once work commenced. Having substantial experience in tensile architecture means we can give clients sound technical advice and contribute to the design process, in terms of recommending the appropriate cable systems, fittings and other components which can achieve the design intent, and ensure a result which is based on sound engineering principles.
“Once work commenced, our familiarity with the Architects’ design intent also meant that nothing was lost in translation during project delivery.”
One of the Architect’s design specifications was particularly challenging. The brackets installed for the pocket atria had to be of substantial size to accept the loads, yet also be completely concealed after installation. Ronstan’s engineers gave the problem careful thought, and designed a bespoke solution which could bear the load of the tensioned cables and growing plants. The installation process also required a high level of skill and logistical management.
Tensile architecture greening projects like the DGSO are a unique combination of physics and art, involving a highly specific and elegant interplay between force and form.
“The products had to look as minimal as possible so as not to detract from the neat and elegant design of the surroundings,” said Rafael.
“The layout of the cable trellises is already quite complicated, so they would have looked too busy if standard industrial looking products had been used. The unique layout of the cables for the greenwall and loggia installations made the cable system a feature in itself – even before the plants started climbing on them. The pocket atria are also an extremely interesting feature of the building.”
“The DGSO has received several design recognitions, and anyone who enters the building can see why. The same clever and creative design was applied to the design of the greening features and Ronstan is proud to deliver them.”
“A year after the installation, we came back to find that the plants were thriving in all sections. More than understanding the cable structures themselves, we also analysed what other aspects of the design made this project successful. These include elements such as plant species, lighting, planter design and the maintenance program. We believe that it is important for us to understand these things to further develop our knowledge and expertise in Green facades.”