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 which includes the unique precast façade, atrium stair and coffered floor slabs, the building demanded an 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 now meet the visual and thermal performance requirements within the heritage framework using customised commercially available window systems.

The existing building records did not 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 plantroom. 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 bore holes drilled adjacent to the building and dynamic pile testing were used to verify rock levels. Dynamic testing was performed on selected existing piles to confirm that pile lengths and gain greater certainty allowing the proposed vertical extension to proceed – although 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 existing basement level.

TTW is providing 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.

Client: Australian National University

Architect: HASSELL

Builder: Hindmarsh

Value: $75M

Completion: 2021

Images: HASSELL

Sector: Universities, Research

Services: Structural, Civil, Façade