Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat
Australia Chapter Hosts Third Queensland
Infrastructure Seminar

7 September 2017
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BRISBANE – The CTBUH Australia Chapter’s Brisbane Committee held the third of its 2017 breakfast seminar series on Queensland Infrastructure on September 7. The topic of discussion was Wanda Ridong Jewel Towers, a world-class resort with direct beach access on the Gold Coast. The discussion covered everything from the concept design to its current construction. The seminar was well-attended, with 81 participants.

CTBUH Brisbane Representative John Flynn, Director, Conrad Gargett Architects, introduced the topic of the event and opened discussions by highlighting current news from CTBUH. Flynn noted that Beijing’s tallest building has structurally topped out. The supertall building, China Zun Tower, is 528 meters tall, with 108 levels. It was designed to withstand an earthquake at the 8th degree of intensity on China’s earthquake classification scale. Flynn also discussed the issue of affordable housing, noting the New York City “Courtscraper” providing apartments at salary-based rent prices. In London, the Mayor opposed amendments for Squire Towers owing to insufficient affordable housing allocation, Flynn reported.

Closer to home, Grimshaw Architects has revealed plans for an office tower overlooking Sydney Harbour made up of three distinct sections, lending it the appearance of not one, but three towers. The design is intended to appeal to the “millennial worker,” i.e., innovators in the creative, technology and finance sectors.

Flynn noted that the City of Paramatta approved a triple-tower development at the soon-to-be revamped rail station, which is being converted for more frequent service by the Sydney Metro. Parallel Property has announced that Maxcon Constructions will build Adelaide’s tallest building, Realm Adelaide, a 40-story residential project. In Canberra, residents have successfully lobbied for Gunahlin, set to be Canberra’s tallest residential tower, to be scaled back to 18 stories.

After breakfast, Flynn introduced the two speakers for the event, Raith Anderson, Managing Director, DBI, and Glenn Barton, Building Structures Manager, Arcadis.

Anderson provided a full picture of the Jewel project from concept to construction. He began by detailing the significance of the project. Positioned halfway between Broadbeach and Surfers Paradise within the high-rise region, the site is unique with its beach-front access, views down the Nerang River, and access to current and future public transport. Anderson explained that in the past, Queensland infrastructure has made poor use of beachfront access. Jewel is to be the first resort on the beach.

Wanda Ridong Jewel Towers, a world-class resort with direct beach access on the Gold Coast.
The project began with an international design competition. Llewelyn Davies Yeang, Marks Barfield Architects, and Oppenheim Architecture were among the submitters, with Oppenheim finally winning the competition. The influencing design factors focused on geology and vegetation, with an aim to “bring the rainforest to the beach.” Anderson presented various reference imagery, featuring water, light, and crystalline inspiration. He explained that crystalline forms that reflect and refract light capture the essence and purity of new iconic, urban, geological architecture. Through collaborative design between DBI, Oppenheim, and the client, Ridong, various structural forms were considered. Anderson shared that the orientation of the towers was ultimately determined when the architects found three crystals of indigenous heritage and stuck them in the sand.

The proposal was for 512 apartments and 169 hotel rooms within the three towers: the Luxury Residential Tower, the Residential and Hotel Tower, and the Premium Residential Tower. The ground floor aims to engage the community with retail and all-day restaurants. The building design focused on efficiency through the use of balconies, and use of the core to arrange different floor plans that could be standardized.

Value management was central to the design. Anderson explained that the quality podium or “base of the crystals” was particularly important, because it is the main area that locals will see and engage with. The external finish was bronze. DBI worked closely with Wanda’s in-house team to design a lobby that featured high-quality materials, to appeal to an international market that values more lavish buildings than are commonly seen in Australia.

The façade is made up of a double-bay wind curtain and glazing with 15% reflectivity. Anderson explained that 3D printing of connections and full-scale testing in China was necessary for the design of the complex façade. Anderson concluded by detailing the approval process from the 2011 submission to current construction.

Raith Anderson, Managing Director, DBI
Glenn Barton, Building Structures Manager, Arcadis

Anderson then introduced Barton to discuss the engineering and construction phase. Barton was first involved in the project in 2008, and soon after, Arcadis worked with DBI to develop a design solution for the development application. Barton explained that they worked with Ridong to look at alternative solutions for construction, including using asymmetrical beams and a hollow core with concrete balconies. However, costing analysis determined the most economical solutions were either conventionally-reinforced or post-tensioned concrete.

The towers were designed with a central concrete core to provide lateral stability, and the cells of the core are linked with stiffened slabs through corridors. Wind-tunnel testing was used to obtain the design wind loads and assess the dynamic motion of the towers. Arcadis aimed to eliminate transfers, but this would require more basement area and additional time and excavation costs. It was more economical to build transfer beams; the most efficient solution was a two-meter-thick transfer slab at Podium Level 3 for all three towers.

In 2014, when Wanda became a part owner in the project, various value engineering investigations were undertaken. A key issue was to limit the number of basement levels to three. Barton explained that the basement design was limited by the requirement for no permanent structure to be built within eight meters of the A-line of the boulder wall that protects Surfers Paradise from storm erosion. DBI investigated whether there would be benefit in building under the boulder wall and determined that a more efficient car-park layout could be achieved that would require only three levels of basement. With endorsement from the Gold Coast Council, Wanda engaged a coastal engineer to prepare a report for the Queensland State Assessment and Referral Agency (SARA), which was approved.

Barton discussed the piled raft foundations for the tower. The team worked closely with the geotechnical engineer, carrying out detailed 2D and 3D analyses of the soil and raft interaction. Generally, the soil conditions on the site are sand of varying density to a depth of 30 meters, clay from 30 to 35 meters, and rock at 35 meters. The piled raft solution was necessary to manage settlement and hydrostatic uplift loads. A drilling and casing contractor was engaged and put forward an alternative solution based on a higher skin friction than had been assumed. They installed and tested tension piles, and found that areas with finer sand did not achieve tension-load capacity, and the skin friction values for piles in this area were reduced back to original.

Multiplex started with construction of the basement 3 slab, and concurrently the construction of the two-meter rafts. Barton noted that managing the heat of hydration for the deep pours is critical to avoid late-age expansion and cracking, and controlling the temperature differential helps to avoid thermal expansion and cracking while it is curing. The solution was a concrete mix that was designed with an increased setting time that limited the rate of hydration, and the concrete was insulated to maintain appropriate differential temperature. Barton presented photos to illustrate the construction timeline over a year to the present day.

The event was concluded by Dylan Smith, Associate Principal & Building Structures Leader, Arup, who delivered the vote of thanks on behalf of the event sponsors. He commended the project on its inspiration from the local environment, the value of the location, the benefits to the local subcontractor market, and the efficiency in design for a complex building with various stakeholders. 
Derek Forbes AECOM Australia Pty Ltd
Alice Naughton AECOM Australia Pty Ltd
Glenn Barton Arcadis
Karl Eckermann Architectus
Allan Rielly Architectus
Graham Robb Ardex Australia
Dylan Smith Arup
Gerrit Lebbink Arup
Ian Ainsworth Arup
Nicholas Docherty Arup
Riccardo Bragoli Arup
Richard Vincent Arup
Stuart Lloyd Arup
Zhang Jing Arup
Evelyn Storey Aurecon Australasia Pty Ltd
Andrew Bryant Bornhorst & Ward
Brett Taylor Bornhorst & Ward
Dane Kirkham Bornhorst & Ward
Liam Clarke Bornhorst & Ward
Liam Robinson Bornhorst & Ward
Nicholas Coles Bornhorst & Ward
Paul Cashman Bornhorst & Ward
Paul Devine Bornhorst & Ward
Paul Kelly Bornhorst & Ward
Richard Cheng Bornhorst & Ward
Ian Webster Buchan Group
Kris-Tanya Louca Conrad Garget
Andrew Campbell Conrad Gargett
Anh Ho Conrad Gargett
Bach Nguyen Conrad Gargett
Ben List Conrad Gargett
Chris Ward Conrad Gargett
Ellie Chen Conrad Gargett
Ian Mitchell Conrad Gargett
John Flynn Conrad Gargett
Patricia Redmond Conrad Gargett
Weng-Lin Hung Conrad Gargett
Josh Yates CPB
Travis Dawson CPB Contractors
Raith Anderson DBI
Jim Lane DCWC
Paula Dawes Decor Systems Pty Ltd
Dean Weinthrop Deloitte
Simon Jeppesen Gallagher Jeffs
Michael Brown Grocon
Evan Woodruffe Hendry
Kylie Rowlands Hendry
France Monnier John Holland
Toby Rice Laing O’Rourke
Cameron McLean McLean Consult
Finbar McLaughlin Norman Disney & Young
Frank Bakker Norman Disney & Young
John McIntosh Norman Disney & Young
Jonathan McCowen Norman Disney & Young
Xavia Troeger Norman Disney & Young
Long Le Nullifire Australia
Brian Wooldridge Opus
Drew Gordon Opus
Mark Kreutz Opus
Nick Mullings Opus
Sean Stacey Opus
Steve Novak Opus
Mark Thompson PDS Group
Cath Patterson Philip Chun and Associates
William Tait Philip Chun and Associates
Andrew Holmes Philips Smith Conwell
Eric Sturlese Philips Smith Conwell
Geoff Cunningham Project Strategies Australia Pty Ltd
Graham Tippins Reddog Architects
Damon Kambouris Robert Bird Group
Dylan Walmsley Robert Bird Group
James Killen Robert Bird Group
Michael Barker Robert Bird Group
Richard Valenti Robert Bird Group
Sam Cooper Robert Bird Group
Stephen Payne Robert Bird Group
Willy Huang Robert Bird Group
Althea Papinczak Shape Group
Chad Brown Thomson Adsett
Matthew Berndt
Cassie Hunt