Glass provides an unusually expressive force here. It really stamps a surprise personality… and dimension. In the curtain walling system and the strong coloured glazing element that forms the façade it’s almost a means of expressing our place in time which is very different from say, the ‘60s. I wanted the transparency and filtered light rather than a solid surface texture. Glass provides an experience from all dimensions; from within the building and from outside. There is an excitement at night when lit up and in many ways it’s like a painting. I hope it’s a very successful use of glass. Viridian’s DécorColour™ glass range adds a tremendous vibrancy. Was there any hesitation about the jelly-bean colours? No, council was willing to go on that journey. It’s playful in a serious way. If an alien landed in Melbourne they would see so many toned down and neutral developments. It’s as if we’re scared of colour and this project is a response to that. It is offered as a counterpoint and contrast and transforming element to herald the new council emerging from its past. Yet the library is quite subdued. The podium and steps really reference the former theatre and so we turned the building inside out in a sense to make the whole project a stage. Glass creates the metamorphosis from dreary function centre to a jewel-like result inside and out. Preservation of the old almost provides this springboard of the new. The building had an auditorium, a proscenium and a stage. We gutted those and put in two additional levels to meet the functional requirements of the council offices and converted the ground floor into a large library. It’s much more than a refurbishment. It’s reclaimed. It’s the ultimate in material and building recycling.
GLASS PROVIDES AN EXPERIENCE FROM ALL DIMENSIONS; FROM WITHIN THE BUILDING AND FROM OUTSIDE.
Any concerns about meeting energy ratings? We had ESD consultants on board from the outset. Our glass choice provides a wonderful shade for the building. It’s certified and has a 5-star green energy rating. That selection was critical in achieving that performance. What assistance did Viridian’s technical team provide throughout the process? There is some wonderful technical information available on their website including specifications, colour range and information to assist in meeting Section J compliance. They were efficient in providing various colour and product samples. Did you select local sourced glass for a specific reason or philosophy? We have confidence in their products. In our experience they stand by them. You select a glass from China and you don’t know if that supplier will be around next year, or the year after. Viridian has been part of the scene here for many years and that reliability is very compelling. Is there anything you can add about the other principal performance glazing type Low-E? We wanted a high transparency glass on the ground floor but were mindful that while this is a static component of the project it can also be dynamic whereby passers-by can see that the building is alive with people using the building. Clear glass provides that visual interest but unlike the older clear glass there aren’t the same problems of heat loss and gain.
Right Performance roof glazing unobtrusively defines the old and new. Below Enlivened communal spaces