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Design Engineers provide facade design for AgResearch

Developer: AgResearch
Architect: Architectus
Contractor:  Naylor Love
Location: Lincoln,  Canterbury
Service Type: Facade Engineering

Agresearch’s new $103 million science facility is home to the 300 scientists and support staff tasked with leading agricultural science and innovation.  The design is a nostalgic nod to the classic farm building, finished in the old red farm corrugated iron colouring that is instantly recognisable and symbolic of the rural heartland. The building itself is far from old fashioned and showcases a contemporary approach to sustainability, with the use of locally sourced timber to reduce embodied energy.  It’s part of a sustainability-driven design that relies on external sun shading to aid natural ventilation and improve the operational energy efficiency of the building. Two different sunshades were to be used, both providing the required shading for the glazing which runs around much of the structure at ground level and on the first floor.  Where the strips of glazing consist of two levels with the top being openable, the sun shading extends down to the bottom of that window to ensure it is shaded at all times. 
A solid corrugated sunshade finished in a standard colorcote finish is used on elevations that require maximum sun shading.  1520mm deep and of varying widths, 125 panels are fixed to aluminium support frames.  The sunshades continue the visual lines of the corrugated sides of the structure, appearing as if they have been ‘opened’ like an awning.
The second sun shading style features the Twilight dapple pattern.  This has an open rate of 26.67% and a very low risk of generating wind noise, having been tested for such in the Insol Wind Tunnel.  What it does generate is a pleasing dappled effect that provides more than enough shading for occupants, whilst adding movement and energy as the sun’s path progresses over the course of a summer's day.
The finished structure uses just 22% of the embodied carbon vs a traditional building, along with a reduction in the operational carbon burden expected thanks to effective sun shading.  Much like there will be on-going gains from the food and fibre research being carried out by scientists in their new home.  As they go about their work, the sun shading will keep computer screens and equipment displays free from glare, while the natural ventilation will fuel their scientific endeavours. 

DESIGN ENGINEERS took on the responsibility of delivering a comprehensive PS1 package for both the glazed facade and louvre systems to support their respective designs. Our involvement began with an exhaustive analysis to facilitate the selection of an optimal facade system. Our team contributed substantial engineering input to meticulously verify the strength and resilience of the aluminum frame, perimeter fixings, and brackets in relation to the building's primary structures.

A critical aspect of our engineering intervention was the consideration of glazing seismic accommodation design. This involved a thorough examination of building interstorey drift to ensure that the glazing would withstand seismic forces without compromising structural integrity. This meticulous approach is paramount in safeguarding building occupants and facilitating a secure escape route during seismic events. In addition to addressing seismic concerns, our team conducted a detailed wind loading assessment. This assessment went beyond the conventional requirements for resisting out-of-plane wind loading, incorporating considerations for accommodating seismic movement. Ensuring the safety and stability of louvres attached to the building was also a focal point in our engineering evaluation. Further contributing to the holistic approach, DESIGN ENGINEERS undertook a comprehensive review of shop drawings. This involved scrutinizing the details presented in the drawings to confirm their structural feasibility and cost-effectiveness. Our commitment extended beyond theoretical analysis to practical implementation, ensuring that the designs encapsulated in the shop drawings were not only structurally sound but also aligned with cost-efficient practices.

Through these multifaceted engineering efforts, DESIGN ENGINEERS demonstrated a commitment to delivering a robust PS1 package for both the glazed facade and louvre systems, emphasizing structural integrity, safety considerations, and practical implementation throughout the entirety of the design and engineering process.


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