The Civic Tower Building is notable in architectural circles for two reasons.
Firstly, the 1970’s designed and built building was originally planned as multi-storey tower, but construction never proceeded beyond completion of the hall at its base. Many years later, in 2004, it was decided to complete the project, and allow the full realization of the Joseland Gillling design.
This involved the construction of the original tower, which now stands as Australia’s first building to be fully supported on a central lift core without the use of continuous perimeter columns extending down to footing levels. The original hall now houses the Sydney Masonic Centre, albeit with a substantial tower above.
A key part of the project completion involved the refurbishment of the lobby space and the presentation of a modern glass facade that engaged building users and encouraged interaction with the immediate surrounding environment.
The challenge for PTW Architects was to create a useable and effective reception space with minimal structure that would not distract from the design intent of the original building.
The final solution involved the creation of a point fixed glazed structure supported by a network of tensile rods from Ronstan. Tied back to the underside of the auditorium above, the structure appears to float in space. The Ronstan Tensile Architecture scope involved close liaison with installer, AGP, assisting in the development of a structural solution for the support of the glass facade with stainless steel tensile rods.
The glass roof was supported on steel frames. Ronstan ARS3 rods were chosen for their aesthetics and structural performance. The high level of finish ensured resistance to corrosion in this busy inner CBD location. Rods were designed for ease of installation and were manufactured in lengths to match AGP’s patch fittings.
The seamless penetration of the tensile elements through the glazed canopy reinforces both the “lightness” of the structure and the flexibility of Ronstan Tensile Architecture to tailor a rod system to the application.