Caroline Springs Civic Centre & Library

Job DescriptionSupply Complicated Architectural Precast Panels
Scope220 no. Precast Units, 1,900m2

As part of an integrated development for the Caroline Springs Town Centre, the Shire of Melton commissioned Suters Architects for the developments of a 2,200sqm library and civic centre.

As part of the design for the Caroline Springs projects the design team was inspired by local geological features of the area – the Organ Pipes National Park. Within the park are a series of columnar basalt formations this occurs when basalt rapidly cools). The basalt formations of the Organ Pipes National park were the design driver for many elements with the buildings such as:

  • Tesselated/randomised precast, which posed a significant challenge for the precaster
  • Large supersized hexagons which were formed using stepped concrete columns with infill pieces that formed the main entry elements to both buildings
  • Cranked glass external elements which extend the visual language of the precast

Precast provided a challenge in the project, which was developed by Westkon. Concrete moulds were formed using CNC machines and with latex moulds formed from this. Five master moulds were made and the moulds were re-arranged for each panel pour.

Suters modelled the shapes and forms of the panels and then sent Westkon computer generated models to set out the moulds. Westkon then made CNC milled moulds from latex rubber, which was a fairly lengthly process owing to the precision required for the moulds to be defect free.

Class two finished concrete was the poured into the moulds and once set the precast panels were taken out of the moulds and left to cure for a few days.

At this point, Suters inspected the precast panels for defects. Once all panels were cured they were trucked to Caroline Springs and erected on-site using caulked joints.