ANU CECS Birch Building refurbishment

Acton, ACT

A $75M upgrade for the College of Engineering and Computer Science - ANU

Constructed in 1968 as the Research School of Chemistry, this facility derived from significant heritage value, including the unique precast façade, atrium stair and coffered floor slabs. The building demanded adaptive reuse to become the College of Engineering and Computer Science. The refurbishment will deliver approximately 9,300sqm GFA of combined teaching, research and workplace.

Re-engineering the existing envelope will meet the heritage framework’s visual and thermal performance requirements using customised commercially available window systems.

The existing building records didn’t include details of the building’s foundations which provided a significant constraint to the refurbishment, as extra loads were required to allow an additional storey to accommodate a large plant room. To overcome this, TTW reverse engineered the existing building based on the design loadings and heavyweight partitions shown on the original drawings to confirm likely footing capacities.

New geotechnical boreholes were also drilled adjacent to the building, and dynamic pile testing was used to verify rock levels. Dynamic testing was performed on selected existing piles to confirm that pile length and gain greater certainty, allowing the proposed vertical extension to proceed with carefully engineered load paths to ensure that no footings become overloaded. Lateral loads from the new structure are carried via heavy steel bracing walls distributed throughout the existing structure to transfer loads down to the current basement level.

TTW provides vibration modelling of the existing structural floor plates to inform the design team of existing structure performance and identify optimum locations for vibration-sensitive lab spaces with a maximum response of RF2.

Our Façade engineers replaced the unique double glazed windows of the existing façade with new thermally broken windows to meet modern energy efficiency requirements while maintaining the original character of the building.

Client: Australian National University

Architect: HASSELL

Builder: Hindmarsh

Value: $75M

Completion: 2021

Images: HASSELL

Sector: Universities, Research

Services: Structural, Civil, Façade