CGS Music Centre and Auditorium

CGS Music Centre and Auditorium

Project Overview

Sector: Education
Location: Australia - Canberra
Year Completed: 2022

Project Features

  • Purpose-built concert venue
  • 3,100 sqm five storey building
  • Partially subterranean auditorium
  • Central acoustically tuned concert hall incorporating vibration technology
  • BIM technology utilised extensively
  • Large scale use of prefabricated and preassembled HVAC equipment

Project Details

Prefabrication the key to installing primary plant room in just one day

Awarded the mechanical services contract for the project by Construction Control, Benmax recently completed work on the new Canberra Grammar School (CGS) Music Centre and Auditorium located at their Red Hill Campus in Canberra, ACT.

The independent school caters for students in pre-school to Year 12 and has a strong commitment to music through its longstanding CGS Music program. The new facility is part of the school’s long term development plan and provides a 1,400-person auditorium, Centre for Music and Centre for Learning, and student library. The architecturally designed building uses the falling contours of the land as a key design feature and pays respect to existing heritage features located on the school grounds, including the Breezeway and Quadrangle Building forecourt. Now complete, the new facility provides an outstanding learning and meeting space, and concert hall for members of the school and broader Canberra community.

Construction of the purpose-built facility required a specialist team involving leading consultants and expert trades. Benmax is proud to have been part of the hand selected team put together by Construction Control for the project, particularly given the innovative and unique mechanical services design features utilised on the build.

Subterranean design– sitting 12m below the neighbouring building, this structure is conditioned by an innovative modular polyvalent heat pump system coupled to a geothermal heat rejection loop. The Benmax team installed over 20km of geothermal pipework to support the system eliminating the need for mechanical equipment at ground level maintaining the panoramic and historic views of the school.

Acoustic considerations – due to the high acoustic sensitivity of the auditorium and associated practice rooms, significant attention was paid to the acoustic isolation and attenuation of the HVAC systems. More than 30 attenuators, the largest measuring 2.3m x 1.3m x 3m in size, are installed within the depths of the building ensuring the crisp notes of the performance are not distracted by the hum of the air conditioning equipment.

Modular construction – due to the basement location of the central chilled and heating water plant, as well as the primary air handling equipment for the auditorium, a modular approach was taken for the mechanical plant. This will allow for equipment maintenance and replacement even though the basement plant room is fully enclosed. All primary equipment components (i.e., heat pump units, fan motors) have been sized so that they can be removed via the main lift (from the basement to the ground level) over the lifecycle of the building.

Prefabrication and preassembled equipment – Benmax officially commenced on-site works in early 2021, however planning and design stages for the project were underway prior to that time to support the large-scale use of prefabricated and preassembled equipment during the build. This innovative construction method, made possible through the use of Building Information Modelling (BIM) technology, was utilised to support the tight delivery time frame required on the project, as well as ensuring the highest standards of quality control and on-site safety.

In this instance, 90% of the equipment for the primary plant room was prefabricated off-site in a controlled workshop environment. Using a variety of modules and skids and complete with all piping, duct, electrical, BMS, lagging and metal sheathing, the precision-made units were then transported to site with the Benmax team able to install the entire plant room in just one-day (8 hours). This process saved an estimated 5,000-man hours on site.

The Benmax team completed work on the project in mid-2022 with the facility now open and receiving outstanding feedback from students and patrons.

“Prefabrication ensured we could meet the client’s tight delivery time frame, while ensuring the highest standards in quality control and on-site safety for our people.”
Alex Lawder, Benmax Project Manager

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