riding the wave

Quality is a prerequesite for design and construction
A view of the Interior of the Ian architecture, ceiling, daylighting, estate, interior design, leisure centre, line, roof, structure, tourist attraction, gray, brown
A view of the Interior of the Ian thorpe Aquatic centre constructed by the FRH Group featuring lap pool, fitness centres, arc profiled ceiling/roof

Few companies have more than 70 years' experience to back them up when it comes to making real the plans of one of the world's more innovative architects. When it came time to realise the Ian Thorpe Aquatic Centre, that company was FRH Group.

This is the third, and largest, indoor aquatic centre constructed by FRH Group, following the Lane Cove and Hurstville Aquatic Centres, says project manager Ed Brown.

The centre is essentially a three-storey building, with the main pool situated nine metres above the lower level. At mid-level, the fitness centre can operate as a separate facility, accessible via the pool complex or through a separate entrance. All back-of-house plant and equipment is on this level also.

"The centre is a landmark development in its use of environmental initiatives, including natural ventilation from hydraulically operable roof vents, rainwater harvesting for internal amenities and sprinkler systems, and active lighting integrated into the building management system (BMS) to minimise wastage," says Brown.

The centre's most distinctive feature, the wave-shaped roof, is constructed from custom aluminium sheeting, which is held in place by 60m trusses.


An interior view of the ian thorpe aquatic architecture, daylighting, leisure, leisure centre, sport venue, structure, swimming pool, gray
An interior view of the ian thorpe aquatic centre featuring lap pool, arc roof profile, recessed lighting,hydraulic and fire services for the centre were provided by Thomson Kane

Brown says FRH Group engaged TDA Snow Engineering for the shop detailing, fabrication and erection of the structure. With full consultation and planning all parties agreed that the best method for erection purposes was to fabricate the trusses in sections and weld them in the air while supported on temporary towers.

"This work was planned from the fabrication stage to ensure the 55m, 26-tonne trusses would land on the supporting columns and meet with the required spacing for a welded joint at each connection point."

As well as the roof line, two other attributes define the Ian Thorpe Aquatic Centre, says Brown.

"The piloti columns, which form a notable feature of the western facade and support the roof structure, required detailed 3D modelling, and a custom fibreglass mould. Because the columns change shape progressively through their height, guy ropes had to be used to ensure reinforcing was installed freestanding, with the mould installed around it."

Next, in keeping with the building's environmental focus, special U-shaped glass from Germany was installed on the northern and southern facades.

A view of the Interior of the Ian architecture, daylighting, indoor games and sports, leisure, leisure centre, line, sport venue, structure, swimming pool, gray, brown
A view of the Interior of the Ian thorpe Aquatic centre constructed by the FRH Group featuring lap pool, fitness centres, arc profiled ceiling/roof

"As with the glass ceiling panels, the north and south facades have been designed to admit natural light into the centre," says Brown.

FRH Group is a major Australian contracting company offering its clients a broad range of products and services in building works, road construction, runway pavements, water and waste-water treatment, infrastructure maintenance, quarrying and asphalt production and surfacing.

For details, contact FRH Group, PO Box 6099, Alexandria, NSW 2015, phone (02) 8346 9400, fax (02) 8346 9444. Website: www.frhgroup.com.au.

Sep 18, 2007
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