The expansion of Chadstone Shopping Centre in Melbourne, Australia, is a seamless celebration of engineering and architecture. The project’s centerpiece is a dramatic gridshell glass roof, which soars above what has become the largest and most popular enclosed shopping centre in the Southern Hemisphere.
The expansion accommodates upwards of 100 new retailers and a roster of leisure and food operators. The 31-meter high, 7,000-square meter roof was a multi-disciplinary collaboration of designers, architects and engineers working with research departments from the University of Stuttgart and the University of Bath. The design team relied on 3D parametric modelling, refining the massing through a combination of video animation and computer rendering. The roof is the first of its kind on the continent.
CallisonRTKL served as concept designer and The Buchan Group as Executive Architect on the project, which has been a staple of both practices’ portfolios since the 1980s.
The standout feature of the design is undoubtedly Chadstone’s iconic gridshell roof. Its structure is based on a lattice framework which derives its strength from its double curvature. Designed by CallisonRTKL, The Buchan Group, and Atelier One in London and manufactured by Seele in Germany and Czech Republic, the roof consists of a catenary steel gridshell glazed with quadrilateral panels of varying size. Its highly efficient form of only 210mm thick, covers an area of approximately 7000 square meters and in some areas allows clear spans of up to 42 meters.
The panel layout has been seamlessly mapped to the building perimeter to provide an elegant boundary between the roof and supporting structure. Working in collaboration with the University of Bath we developed a project-specific script to translate a 2D point-controlled quadrilateral grid into a 3D parametric mesh, combining the critical interrelated aspects of the roof form, the glass panels and structural efficiency. The panel sizes were limited to ensure there were no manufacturing or transit-related restrictions, and the surface was developed within very tight planarity limits that enable small levels of cold bending where necessary without generating significant stress.
Two key features of the design are its open style, with a gallery-type second floor, and the high, dome-like glass roof that allows plenty of daylight to reach both floors. The glass roof has to follow the line of the shopping malls below and so the result is a complex free-form gridshell with spans of up to 44m.
7,080sqm free-form gridshell spanning 44m 260m long glass roof 2,672 ISO insulating glass panes 500t steelwork 2,810 steel nodes 95% of the trapezoidal forms are unique
seele’s well-conceived logistics for chadstone shopping centre
A tight, rigid timetable plus fast-changing weather conditions and strict local stipulations regarding working conditions on site called for a precise logistics concept. seele developed an intelligent solution for the steel-and-glass roof: roof segments were preassembled to a large extent under much more flexible conditions at a site 35km away. In perfectly coordinated operations, these segments, measuring up to 18 x 4,5m, were then transported to the building site, where, one by one, they were quickly lifted into place and fixed. This fast timing also prevented interruptions due to the strong winds that frequently prevail in this area.
Creating the seele steel-and-glass roof
How do you create an extraordinary edifice in a very short time, in a confined space and under extreme climatic conditions? The below, film shot at the huge Chadstone Shopping Centre in Melbourne shows the breathtaking construction of the complex steel-and-glass structure spanning more than 44m.
Every step of the erection of the 500t of steel and 2,672 insulating glass units was recorded from unique perspectives.
Architects: CallisonRTKL, The Buchan Group
Location: Melbourne VIC, Australia
Architect in charge: The Buchan Group
Designer: CallisonRTK (designer); The Buchan Group (Architect)
Project Year: 2016
Photographs: CallisonRTKL, Seele
Manufacturers: Corporate Initiatives, Porcelanosa, Seele, Aglo system, Jura Limestone
Developer: Gandel Group and Vicinity Centres
Food Gallery and Dining Terrace: MTRDC
Structure & Civil Engineering: Baigents
MEP, VT & Environmental Engineer: Simpson Kotzman
Lighting Designer: Electrolight
Landscaping Architect: Formium
Project Manager: RCP Vic
Main Contractor: Probuild
Concept Designer: CallisonRTKL
Executive Architect: The Buchan Group
Initial form mesh generation: Process 2, Stuttgart University, Research Department, Germany
Structure Engineer: Atelier One
Façade/Envelope Consultant: Atelier One
Form Development and Panel Optimisation script: Atelier One with Computational Consultant Dr Chris Williams (Bath University UK)
Article text courtesy of architects