The design concept was to fundamentally create a new clearly defined object building; a form in its own right, visually independent from the existing building behind.
This approach allows the new structure to be its own distinctive element with its own details and materials appropriate to current construction technology, in the spirit of the age. In plan, this new building is formed from a series of generous symmetrical curves, with a firm axial focus on the existing main glass cupola at the centre of the site.
The Pirrama Road facade is then shaped to form a generous concave pocket of space at the centre of the site, defining the key entry point. The two convex wings on either side provide larger, deeper and more efficient spaces for the key internal activities within. The result is a building form that is evocative of those found in nature, be it a bird in flight, a lotus leaf or a sea shell. A form shaped by its context and by the elements.
The entire building has been raised above the ground to give a visual weightlessness whilst liberating the ground floor for pedestrians. The building has also been separated from the existing building forming a long crescent of circulation with multi-height atrium zones around the back edge. This space is enclosed by a glass atrium roof. These atrium spaces will provide natural top lighting into the depth of the building whilst providing visual connectivity between various floors, making a contribution to the animation and activity within.
The Pirrama Road elevation is a singular dramatic curved gesture which flows effortlessly along the entire frontage. It is a finely detailed skin of living breathing glass louvres. The floor levels behind are also curved but are independent of the glass screen in front. They enjoy their own dives and turns in response to their specific internal requirements creating a flowing and changing composition of space and light. The glass louvred facade will behave in a unique and remarkable way – it will reflect and refract light along its full length as the long curves compress and expand.
The glass sheets have rounded corners and all facade fixings and steel work will be curved and rounded silver to provide point reflections and sparkle, reminiscent of a crystal chandelier.
The result is a spectacular and memorable building that is energetic, busy and extremely popular – a new and dynamic attraction that is and will be a must-see for both locals and visitors for many years to come.