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The shell is structured as a segmented curvilinear lattice or ‘gridshell’ which is constructed from WA-made Laminated Veneer Lumber (LVL) produced by Wesbeam from sustainably sourced timber.
LVL is made up from rotary peeled veneers approximately 3mm thick which are laminated together under pressure.
It is the first time that this construction process, which involves splicing 2.5m sections of LVL into arcs spanning 18 metres, has been used in Australia. This project differs from other European timber gridshell technologies because it is a semi-rigid rather than flexible structure. The shell reaches a height of over 6 meters at the apex. The stiffened structure allows for the maximum amount of prefabrication and an efficient construction process on site.
The structure was initially designed as an undifferentiated lattice, but evolved into the final form through extensive modelling using advanced generative computational design tools. Further refinement of the form took place in collaboration with the structural engineers (Bill Smalley of Scott Smalley Partnership, South Perth) and the fabrication engineers (Bruce Hutchings of Timberbuilt, Clayton Victoria).