AEB roof truss lift
On 5 June 2012 the timber trussed auditorium roof for the University of Queensland Advanced Engineering Building (AEB) was successfully lifted into place.
Eight jacks were used simultaneously to raise the entire 220 tonne roof structure in 300mm increments to the final elevated position of between 10m and 12.5m above floor level. With only a very small margin for error (30mm max tilt) the entire process was a slow and precise procedure. The roof is supported by nine flitch timber columns at the facade and nine steel brackets to the rear concrete wall. The ‘designed’ deflection over the 26m span is between 20 to 45mm.
Designed by architects Richard Kirk Architect and Hassell in joint venture, the auditorium is a response to the intent for the AEB project to establish a new benchmark for sustainable building design. The 30m roof span over the 660m 2 auditorium is achieved using entirely timber structural systems. Through the use of timber at this scale the AEB continues the rich tradition of timber construction in Queensland and serves as a demonstration of this renewable resource’s versatility as a building material.
This approach to sustainability identifies and enables greater utilisation of existing sustainable industries and allows them play a grander and more sophisticated role in the built environment. The University has supported this important initiative in the AEB, which has resulted in what is believed to be the largest timber framed auditorium roof in Australia.
Given the AEB’s role as a learning laboratory for future generations of engineers and architects, the need for the sustainability response to be legible and comprehensible is essential. The internally expressed timber trusses reveal to the students the process of construction and illustrate the structural forces at play. The folded plates of the timber truss provide strength whilst enhancing the internal acoustic qualities of the auditorium and externally signifying the importance of this space through the expressive form.
In response to the lakeside setting of the campus, two walls of the auditorium will be completed out of glass to allow views to the landscape and making it one of the best places on campus to daydream during lectures. At night the entire auditorium will glow as it floats over the water.
The AEB is scheduled for completion in 2013. Additional information regarding the roof lift can be found on the University of Queensland website.