Insulating ABC Brisbane
Designed by Richard Kirk Architect and constructed by Leighton Contractors, the new ABC Brisbane headquarters is a hub for the organisation’s diverse broadcasting and cultural activities. Importantly, the new structure replaces the former Toowong studios, where multiple instances of cancer were reported over a decade dating from the mid-1990s. The closure of the Toowong facility, combined with the subsequent splintering of services across numerous sites pending completion of the new headquarters, conferred high expectations on the new development to deliver fresh vigour, energy and premium welfare to all occupants.
The rectangular multilevel building abutting Grey and Russell Streets in Brisbane’s central Southbank district, contains a mix of open-space offices and boldly cantilevered glazed studio areas.
Light and space are central themes of the design, facilitated by expansive glazed walls and a structural linear simplicity.
One of the key design considerations, therefore, was a practical approach to internal comfort within a context of overall openness and light – not an easy balance to achieve.
Fortunately, the specialist insulation manufacturer Kingspan Insulation was able to accommodate the design imperative for high-performance, unobtrusive and slim-profile insulation to maximise internal floorspace while offering prestige occupant welfare.
Kooltherm® K12 Framing Board is a super high-performance, fibre-free, rigid thermoset insulation featuring double-sided, low-emissivity foil for added thermal protection. This high-quality insulation material is capable of providing Total R-Values of up to RT3.0 (heat flow out) using just a 40 mm Kooltherm® thickness in concrete wall applications. This spatial efficiency means wall profiles in the ABC Brisbane building are far less bulky than walls lined with conventional insulation products.
In addition, the rigid fabrication means panels were able to be installed as continuous linings, free from the thermal breaks that characterise traditional soft insulation materials positioned between timber or steel framing. Rigid Kooltherm® K12 panels also remove the dangers of sagging, slumping, displacement or deterioration that are bugbears of soft insulation products.
Continuous Kooltherm® K12 panels, therefore, reduce energy wastage, minimise the workloads of air-conditioning and heating units, and help to stabilise temperature fluctuations.
Each of these outcomes assists with the overall charter of the building to create a safe, efficient, healthy and pleasurable workplace. In combination with visually discreet fixed and operable facade shade systems, as well as carefully arranged timber blinds, the building – which will also be home to the Queensland Symphony Orchestra – commands a close functional connectedness with the outside world while safeguarding its engineering integrity. This connectedness includes aesthetic harmony with other nearby cultural institutions such as Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University and the Queensland Performing Arts Centre.
Kooltherm® K12 Framing Board can be used in a variety of applications and is easily cut to size to suit asymmetrical applications. In addition to concrete walls, it can be used with masonry block walls, brick veneer walls, steel-framed walls and timber-framed walls.