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Static no longer – moving architecture is the future


Brisbane Ferry Terminal

11 November 2016 - In association with Cox Architecture, global engineering and infrastructure advisory company Aurecon has been nominated by the World Architecture Festival for its work on the Brisbane Ferry Terminals in two categories - Transport and Small Projects.

This is the world’s largest international architectural event, including the biggest architectural awards programme in the world held this year from 16-18 November in Berlin. Working on a project nominated in two categories is an encouraging endorsement of Aurecon’s ability to support architects’ vision, making a meaningful and tangible difference to communities.

The new Brisbane ferry terminals design solution is the latest example of Aurecon’s experience and expertise in bringing moving architecture to life. Aurecon and Cox Architecture were the designers of this bold design concept which is a significant shift away from convention in aesthetics, flood resilience and improving accessibility.

Dr Kourosh Kayvani, Global Director - Excellence & Expertise at Aurecon says “This is an exemplar of the power of design where collaboration and inspiration from other fields leads to true innovation that delivers tremendous value for stakeholders - whether they are ferry passengers needing  to get to a destination or an owner/operator wanting to create resilient infrastructure.”

The design itself uses the power of flood waters to protect the structures – like a tree bending in the wind. Powered by water, the gangway uses buoyancy to automatically detach from the shore during flood events, swinging behind the pontoon and out of the way of debris; simultaneously the pontoon’s downstream mooring point changes function to provide lateral restraint. Unique gangway floor mechanics work with the tidal range to maintain level intermediate landings to provide what is believed to be a world-first solution for achieving compliant disabled access.

The terminals deliver a modern, ambitious and elegant architectural design in the maritime environment. A single sculpted pier eliminates the traditional array of pontoon guide piles and deflects heavy objects away during a flood event to prevent damage and the boat‐hull shape inspired pontoon minimises the risk of debris impact and reduces negative lift on leading edge and drag force during floods

“Our solutions are complex in detail but simple in concept and we work closely with our architect partners to bring aesthetic and resilient solutions to life,” said Arne Nilsen, Aurecon’s Project Director for the Brisbane project.

“The pontoon is both functional and visually appealing, providing largely unobstructed views of the river,” adds Nilsen.

In designing the ferry terminals, Aurecon transferred skills gained in major industrial mechanical projects for bulk materials handling, ship loading facilities and buildings projects into a marine passenger transport environment.

“Aurecon has been engaged on every stadium moving roof project in Australia and our solutions are very different to those that other engineers have delivered elsewhere in the world”, said Nilsen. “The way we overcome the design challenge is to develop driving and restraint systems that simplify the load responses, significantly reduce operating risk and improving resilience of these massive structures, some of which span up to 160 m.”

Huge, moving structures such as a retractable stadium roofs require a unique integration of mechanical, electrical controls and structures designs to be built into the elegance of the architecture.

“To maintain the essence of the architect’s design, Aurecon draws upon our engineering experience gained across many sectors and disciplines,” said Nilsen.

“At the heart of our design solution is maintaining the vision of the architect, while creating a piece of infrastructure that is durable, easy to maintain and cost-efficient to operate,” concludes Nilsen.

Aurecon was recently voted one of architects’ top five preferred engineers globally by the UK-based Building Design’s prestigious World Architecture 100 (WA100) global ranking of ‘Best partners’. Aurecon is also proud to have worked on the Al Maha Centre for Children and Young People, awarded the 2015 World Architecture Festival award for Health in Future Projects.

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