Text description provided by the architects. This project integrates the plant equipment for a tri-generation plant with the historic Carlton and United Brewery building on the fringe of the Sydney CBD. The Brewery precinct, which dates from the early twentieth century, is located in the centre of this six hectare site, now known as Central Park.
It is the largest group of retained heritage buildings on site and will provide the most direct representation of the Brewery which existed on the site until 2005. The built form of the project needed to provide a memorable expression of this important new technology within the urban context while also meeting the demanding technical requirements of the cooling towers and enhancing the heritage significance of the buildings.
We developed an innovative formal solution to this problem where the form of the new work arose from the integration of complex profile of the existing roofline with the organic regular form of the plant equipment within. The transparency of the mesh was minimised, enhancing the solidity of the form while providing permeability for the cooling towers which need large volumes of air intake. This form was wrapped in custom made zinc mesh sheets, like fabric draped over a curved frame.
Fittingly, the new plant room hovers over the former Old Boiler House, the original power station for the site which operated in various formats until it was decommissioned in the 1980s. The original inverted pyramid coal hoppers are retained in situ within the new zinc clad enclosure and informed the volume of the base of the structure. We have extended the detailing tradition of buildings on this site. The detailing generally was intended to be direct, utilitarian and industrial this can be seen in the close up details of the steel.
Within the building supporting the cooling towers, steel bolts and plate connections for the new steel work are clearly expressed as these will be visible in the final iteration of the adaptive re-use of the building. The new slab housing the cooling towers is supported by industrial scaled steel portal frames - the beam of the portal frame is 1.2m deep and spans over twenty metres.
This project delivers significant community benefits through both the provision of a highly energy efficient method of supplying power as well as hot and cold water to a significant new mixed use development on the fringes of the city as well as providing a model of how this new technology can be integrated with an important historic structure. The design both respects this fabric as well as making this vital new technology a memorable part of the urban context. This design solution required close collaboration with our client, the heritage consultant, technical services consultants and both tri-generation and faade mesh contractors to resolve these issues and meet our ambitious design agenda through a staged GMP delivery process.