Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat
The Changing Face of Brisbane: Seminar Three 2016
July 28, 2016
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BRISBANE – The CTBUH Australia Chapter’s Brisbane Committee held the third of its breakfast seminars on Thursday July 28, 2016. The topic of discussion was “The Changing Face of Brisbane,” with a particular focus on the Brisbane Skytower, currently under construction. More than 100 people were in attendance for the presentation.

Brisbane Skytower, Brisbane
Chair of the Brisbane Committee for CTBUH Australia, John Flynn, Conrad Gargett Architects, opened the event with a summary of current tall building news. Flynn discussed the recent façade fire in Dubai, the fifth major façade fire in the city in five years. These fires have typically been starting from balcony air conditioning units and spreading to the combustible façades. It was only in 2013 that Dubai regulations were changed to prohibit combustible façade elements. He went on to show details of the world’s tallest Ferris wheel, also under construction in Dubai. At a height of 210 meters and weighing 1,085 tons, the spindle was shown being lifted into place. Flynn went on to discuss several tall timber buildings currently under construction in Amsterdam and Japan, seeking to take the title of world’s tallest timber building from Melbourne.

Flynn then introduced the first of the three speakers, Noel Robinson, CEO and Managing Director, The NRA Collaborative. Robinson gave a fascinating overview of the project. Brisbane Skytower, located at 222 Margaret Street, will be the latest addition and tallest apartment building in Brisbane’s Skyline. The project contains 1,135 apartments and 1,875 square meters of commercial space. It stands 90 stories tall and rises to 270 meters above street level with a slenderness ratio of 1:7.2.  The project features four podium levels and shares an eight-story basement with the adjacent hotel development. Robinson went on to give an overview of the troubled history of the site.

Noel Robinson, CEO and Managing Director, The NRA Collaborative
It was first proposed in 2006 and construction commenced in 2007, excavating a seven-level basement. The Global Financial crisis halted the project in 2008 and the land was sold in 2010. In January 2011, the basement filled with water during the Brisbane floods. In 2011 an alternative commercial / hotel / residential development was proposed but by 2014 the commercial market in Brisbane was waning. In 2014 the current residential / retail scheme was approved, which is currently under construction. Robinson gave an overview of the buildings layout and architectural features.
Robinson handed over the stage to the second speaker, Richard Cass, Technical Director, Bonacci Group Pty Ltd. Cass is the structural engineer responsible for the current project. He described the structural system for the tower, which is reinforced concrete and comprises a triangular core and a finely detailed high-performance glass curtain wall. The shape and aerodynamics of the design enable the tower to avoid the need for mass damper tanks, freeing up valuable penthouse level floor area and improving the project’s viability. Cass gave a fascinating overview of how the building’s structural form had been pushed around during the long history of the project.
Richard Cass, Technical Director, Bonacci Group Pty Ltd.
Bonacci took over the project in 2011 after the Brisbane floods. The project had been designed as two towers – a residential tower and a commercial tower – and the basement was full of water. A barge was placed in the large duck pond and the ground anchors to the diaphragm wall were tested and replaced as necessary as each level of the basement was drained until the basement was empty. The basement was increased to eight levels and the existing foundations had to be reused for the new project form. Due to market forces, the option to change the tower back to a commercial tower while the basement was under construction was introduced. This required flexibility to be built into the basement structure so the tower could be either constructed above ground as a commercial or residential tower. It was not until the B1 basement was complete that the decision was made to construct a residential tower. An option to increase the tower to 300 meters tall was also investigated. Bonacci managed to redesign the tower to make this height increase work with the introduction of mass dampers and by relocating the building outriggers. This option did not proceed and the structure was then trimmed back as construction proceeded with the original 90-story building.
Cass introduced the final speaker, Brandon Kieseker, Queensland Regional Manager, Inhabit Group. Kieseker described the 31,000-square-meter, AUD$30 million (USD$23 million) façade system. The façade utilizes a faceted system around the triangular shaped floor plate. He detailed the fixing, acoustic, and fire performance of the façade system along with the technical details of the high performance glass system.  ESD modeling was carried out for each apartment to show the whole system could achieve a U value of 3.1. Wind pressures varied from +3.9kPa to -8.3kPa over the façades, but these values have been reduced significantly due to the introduction of rounded corners to the triangular floor plate.
Brandon Kieseker, Queensland Regional Manager, Inhabit Group
Kieseker went on to describe how the building is designed to have self-closing awnings. These awnings automatically close at a wind pressure of 1.5kPa to eliminate the build-up of internal wind pressures during a storm event.
The seminar was recorded in full by CTBUH Australia.
Robinson returned to the podium to conclude and introduce Brett Taylor, Director, Bornhorst & Ward Pty Ltd – the event sponsors – to deliver a vote of thanks.
Derek Forbes AECOM Australia Pty Ltd
Wesley Shaw Arkhefield
Anne Sulinski Arkhefield
Dylan Smith Arup
Craig Gibbons Arup
David Mills Arup
Karl Arup
Jing Zhang Arup
Aaron Toscan Aurecon
Joel Kelloway Aurecon
Abdullah Habash Aurecon
Chris Young BCA Certifiers
Ian Gill Bonacci Group
Attendee Bonacci Group
Attendee Bonacci Group
Attendee Bonacci Group
Attendee Bonacci Group
Attendee Bonacci Group
Attendee Bonacci Group
Richard Cass Bonacci Group Sydney
Ross Kynaston Bornhorst & Ward Pty Ltd
Richard Cheng Bornhorst & Ward Pty Ltd
Rocky Guruprasad Bornhorst & Ward Pty Ltd
Johnson Chua Bornhorst & Ward Pty Ltd
David Teakle Bornhorst & Ward Pty Ltd
Dean Taylor Bornhorst & Ward Pty Ltd
Lucinda Wawrzyniak Bornhorst & Ward Pty Ltd
Ian Macrae Bornhorst & Ward Pty Ltd
Sam Ward Bornhorst & Ward Pty Ltd
Anthony Le Bornhorst & Ward Pty Ltd
Brett Taylor Bornhorst + Ward
Martin Henry Broad
Robert Vider BVN
Katherine Morris Calibre Consulting
Dave Hargreaves Cardno
Ruiwen Kong CCAA
Camilo Echeverry CONRAD GARGETT
Patricia Redmond CONRAD GARGETT
Christopher Hall-Jordan CONRAD GARGETT
Jayson Blight Cox Architecture
Vesna Lazarevic Cox Rayner Architects
Lachlan Walker DC8 Studio
Peter Scott Elenberg Fraser
Harrison Wraight Elenberg Fraser
Harrison Greth Ellenberg Fraser
John Gaskin Gaskin Construction Service
Jamie Nicholas Gaskin Construction Service Pty Ltd
Hugo Salmon Gaskin Construction Service Pty Ltd
Alison Sayce GWA Bathrooms & Kitchens
Donna Roffey GWA Bathrooms & Kitchens
Brandon Kieseker Inhabitat Group
Michael Bruderlin ISPT
Dilu Samarakkody Kasina consultants Pty Ltd
Sean Igoe Knisco
Stacey Egan KWA Blinds
John Marshall Marquee Projects
Yves DuBois MBMpl
Cameron McLean McLean Consult
Jeff Marchant Norman Disney & Young
John McIntosh Norman Disney & Young
Frank Bakker Norman Disney & Young
Ryan Garrahy Norman Disney & Young
Rick Lawrence Norman Disney & Young
Guest Norman Disney & Young
Joe O’Brien Northrop Consulting Engineers
Neil Petherbridge Northrop Consulting Engineers
Noel Robinson NRA Collaborative
Lee Wade NRA Collaborative
Phillip Lord NRA Collaborative
Brian Wooldridge Opus
Mark Kreutz Opus
Sean Stacey Opus
Bruce Street Opus
Drew Gordon Opus
Michael Moran Philip Chun and Associates
Willie Tait Philip Chun and Associates
Michael Ellis Powe Architects
Kate Copeland Queensland Health
Greg Atkinson RCP
Duncan B Rothe Lowman
Russell Brothers Russell Edward Brothers
Lawson Katiza Savills
Matthew Mason School of Civil Engineering
Dilum Fernando School of Civil Engineering
Angus Law School of Civil Engineering
Kim Hayes Turner & Townsend
Robin Sweasey Turner & Townsend Thinc
Rumi Rossi Turner & Townsend Thinc
Scott Sheehan Turner & Townsend Thinc
Vicki Lynch Vertilux
Ross Jarden Watpac Construction Pty Ltd
Luke Taylor WSP Structures
Adam Read WSP Structures
Scott WSP Structures