A new entertainment venue
Studio Hassel, studio Populous
Living Tiles Pty Ltd
In a joint venture by architecture practices HASSEL + Populous, Sydney’s prime Darling Harbour location has been completely redeveloped to make way for three public buildings accommodating a 2,500-seat convention centre, a 40,000 square metre exhibition centre, a plenary hall which can be converted to an 8,000 seat theatre, and a grand ballroom for 2,000, all set in parkland. Completed in 2016, the architectural project created a new precinct that offers splendid views of both the waterfront and the city, as well as a series of spaces and infrastructures that make it Australia’s foremost convention centre. The three buildings are very different in terms of their architecture and materials. Designed to stage live concerts, the theatre looks out onto the water and conveys a sensation of strength and dynamism thanks to its glass walls and the use of colour. The exhibition centre, entirely clad with wood and also featuring a predominance of wood finishes in the interior spaces, creates a direct link with the Tumbalong park within which the entire complex is set and brings to mind the old warehouses that formerly faced onto the port. Last but not least, the Convention Centre – which like the theatre has a glass and adamantine façade – uses white ceramic tiles to clad the large ventilated walls and the interior suspended ceilings, giving the building a strong contemporary identity reminiscent of maritime architecture.
The Convention Centre differs from the other two buildings in terms of its large windows and the iridescent white of its exterior façade clad with Laminam ceramic panels in a 1000×1850 mm size and thickness 5+ mm, chosen in the Oxide Bianco finish. Through the use of an exclusive stratification technology, the surfaces of Oxide reproduce the effect of oxidised metal which has reacted to the elements, the sun and the passage of time, creating unusual and sophisticated three-dimensional effects on the surfaces of the building’s large envelope.
The ventilated façade was installed using an innovative hybrid installation system that combined metal couplings with a structural silicone gluing technique. The surfaces are secured to the wall by means of a mechanical coupling system on brackets with staggered depths, each panel overlapping the ones next to and below it to create a geometric effect reminiscent of the scales of a fish. The cladding is further strengthened by inserting vertical profiles fixed on the rear with structural silicone.
As well as on the façade, the large size ceramic panels are used inside the building to create a unique suspended ceiling with a natural ventilation system. The panels are produced in squares and other geometric shapes to fit in with the polygonal surface of the ceiling and are fixed to the metallic substructure by means of exposed mechanical couplings.
Laminam, Oxide collection
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): 0.1%
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): da A a C
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): ≤175 m3
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): compliant
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): compliant
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): 50 valore medio
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): compliant