The Daintree Rainforest’s shapes inspired the design of this magnificent skyscraper in Brisbane (Australia). The building’s façade wraps up to the rooftop, where timber beams intertwine to form a shading pergola, offering a 1000 m² leisure area for the residents.
Ergodomus, contracted by Theca, has proudly engineered the pergola positioned at over 100 meters, contributing with its know-how in computational design and DfMA.
The structure is made up of 44 double-curved beams, 28 single-curved beams, 26 straight beams, and 573 purlins (219 of which are different from each other in length and cutting angles). The primary beams have a cross-section of 140x480mm and a length between 5 and 8 m.
This project – our very first in Australia 🇦🇺 – is, to date, the most complex project we have ever worked on. In fact, the double-curved beams that are used to connect the single-curved columns at the base, create unique shapes on every intersection. So, we had to manage the correct orientation of the steel plates and the millings for the connections, and consider that everything has to be assembled at a height of over 100 meters.
One of the biggest challenges for this project was to create an algorithm to design more than 400 bespoke steel plates brackets to connect the purlins to the sides of the double-curved beams since it was not possible to use standard connections. The algorith adapts the steel plates to the beams’ curvature updating the 3D model and the production drawings.
Then, we added information to the algorithm to create the files for the CNC machines (5 and 7 axes) for the glulam manufacturers and send the production drawings of all the steel plates (part of them were pre-assembled in a factory in Europe).
Furthermore, we provided the shop drawings and had to organize the shipment from Italy to Australia. Thus, we had to foresee a loading plan for the fewer possible number of containers. This required a huge workload and our best DfMA skills.
We had to make the nesting, think about the positioning of the curved beams and the steel plates in every container, calculate the total number of containers, and – finally – consider in which order to load/unload the containers.
THIS is value engineering for us: it is not only reducing the size of the elements (quantity and materials), but it goes further: it includes reducing the total number of containers for shipping, the total assembly time, the working hours, and the overall costs.
Our scope of work for this project was: computational design, shop drawings, DfMA for custom steel plates and timber (production drawings + CNC files), and assembly drawings.
Theca Timber Australia
Theca Timber as a brand of Theca Australia was created to become the point of reference in Australia for consulting designers and engineers as well as to provide full supply of eco-sustainable, prefabricated, engineered timber structures. To help the construction industry to fight climate change by using net zero embodied carbon solutions like mass-timber is our mission.