The project is a new Equine Centre for a regional Victorian University which provides a large open indoor riding arena for the training of horses and riders as well as associated teaching and amenity areas. The use of timber to provide the structure for a 42m clear span structure is a departure from the standard steel solution. The use of this timber product demonstrates new possibilities for this type of building. The complex structure was designed and delivered successfully under the constricted timeframes associated with the national economic stimulus program. The glue laminated solution was selected after, among other things, a rigorous economic feasibility study comparison against the typical steel option, which clearly demonstrated the benefits to be gained by building with timber. The structural action of the arch has been explored and the boundaries pushed by including a very tight set of lower radii and a very flat top section radius to achieve the desired riding arena space.
The exposed timber structure in the large scaled space of the riding arena has been carried through in the more domestic scaled areas where a standard MGP10 stud wall frame has been partially clad and exposed, continuing the integrity of the design and construction resolution. The Verandah has a semi transparent multi layered wall which includes the radiata framing and a cypress pine column screen. Typically utilitarian and concealed building materials and methods have been displayed and celebrated in a building where the timber structure at all scales is the design point of reference.
For a tertiary institution looking to identify and enact sustainable development and leadership, the opportunity to build such a regionally significant building with the most sustainable material is extremely valuable.