We were recently approached by TILT, Australia’s leading industrial designer for architects, to fabricate an operable glass façade for the chapel in Bunurong Memorial Park, Melbourne.
TILT had been engaged to design, manufacture and build the facade which was an extraordinary and challenging brief. The façade was comprised of three large curved windows which form a floor to ceiling glass window when closed, then when opened slide down to waist height, creating a balustrade.
The three windows are raised and lowered together in a synchronised fashion using an electronic actuator. Weighing approximately two tonnes each, the windows are 7 metres long and 2.5 metres high and curved.
TILT’s vision for this functional piece of architecture was extraordinary, as was their desire to provide a functional piece of architecture that allowed visitors to the chapel to enjoy open air access to the lake as desired, and protection from the elements when necessary.
The precision of fabrication of the steelwork frame for this project was critical to deliver on TILT’s vision. Deflections can occur in long span structures such as the 7m glass panels, and we needed to take this into consideration when building the frame. We worked closely with the team at TILT to ensure the alignment of the three large windows was perfect ensuring the smooth operation of the opening and closing mechanism, as well as weatherproofing.
Precision and functional operation in architecture isn’t the only consideration though. Ensuring the aesthetic that is envisioned by the architect is achieved is crucial and we worked with TILT to deliver on that promise.
TILT collaborated with the architects at BVN, the structural engineers and our team to achieve an extraordinary outcome that allows patrons of the chapel to enjoy the view over the lake in all the weather conditions that Melbourne has to offer.