For our proposal to the Barangaroo Pier Pavilion Competition, we explored our interest in High-Performance Lightweight Concrete (HPLC). Coupled with polymer sheeting and steel cable reinforcement, this advanced technology can form incredibly robust, sculptural forms with minimal material and with a very thin profile. This technique has been prototyped extensively and used in a handful of structures worldwide. To our knowledge, this specific technique has not been used in Australia, in this way. This technique can not only architecturally satisfy the competition brief but also advance local industry knowledge as well. Establishing this technique as a known local skill, can help reduce the environmental impact that concrete construction has in Australia, given the vast reduction of material required for this method.
Our design sees an undulating HPLC canopy supported on columns. The wave form raises up to the north to allow winter sun to penetrate deep into the space under. Tiered seating forms a wind buffer to the south and provides event storage underneath. Planter boxes are placed strategically to conceal stormwater pits to drain the roof. At night the underside of the canopy forms a canvas for animated projections.
We envision a gentle place for people to gather under this billowy concrete canopy. Its soft curves and understated form belie the fact that much research, thought and endeavour has gone in to its construction. It forms a small part of the Barangaroo precinct, yet adds another layer to the rich tradition of technological development within Sydney’s architectural and construction history. It’s with this rationale that we present this idea for your consideration.