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case study:

eastern resource centre (link)

Group Members: D. Kellett G. Lewis M. Tibballs K. Randall-Dzerdz


stRuctuRaL systeMs FOUNDATIONS AND FOOTINGS transfer and distribute the load/s of the building to the ground. The Eastern Resource Centre uses a system of concrete footings to support the building loads above (fig.1). The PRIMARY STRUCTURE is the structural system that transfers live and static loads through the building and to the ground. The Eastern Resource Centre utilises columns (fig.2) and steel framing to translate the load/s of the structure to the earth. The SECONDARY STRUCTURE is not directly involved in the load-bearing capacity of the building, and consists of elements such as walls, doors (fig.3), and windows. Figure 1: Concrete footings. Diagram: K. Randall-Dzerdz 2013.

Figure 2: Primary loadbearing columns.

Figure 3: Diagramatic door representation.


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The Eastern Resource Centre employs a number of structural materials that serve functional and/or aesthetic purposes. Concrete is used in solid walls (1) , footings and slabs (2) as it can withstand the compressive loads that press down upon it. Steel is utilised throughout the building (3), forming much of the primary structure but being left exposed to create a striking architectural feature. Loose insulation has been placed in wall (3) and oor cavities to help regulate the internal environment of the space and enhance energy efďŹ ciency. Glass can be seen on the facade of the building, letting in natural light and protecting the space from the external elements.

stRuctuRaL MateRIaLs


stRuctuRaL JOINts Many joints observed on site and in structural drawings have been fixed joints. These include:

Welded joints (fig.4) formed though the heating, and subsequent cooing and joining of metals to create an unmovable joint. The prevalence of these fixings may be due to the widespread use of steel framework that can be appropriately joined using this method. Bolts (fig.5) create a fixed joint where multiple bolts have been used to prevent rotational movement that may arise if only one bolt had been set in place. Grout may also be used as a bonding agent in some bolted connections (fig.6).

Figure 4: Welded joint.

Figure 6: Grout and bolt connection.

Figure 5: Bolted fixing.


According to data collected by TATA Steel in the United Kingdom of the carbon dioxide impacts of steel construction (2002), a one-tonne steel plate will produce close to one tonne of carbon dioxide though the production and manufacturing process. According to these figures, the steel used in the construction of the Eastern Resource Centre would have no doubt contributed a great deal of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. However, the strength-to-weight ratio of steel means that much less can be used in many applications compared to other alternatives.

Figure 7: Production of carbon dioxide during transport of materials. Source: Vautoinspect.com n.d.

References: TATA Steel 2002, The carbon footprint of steel, Available: http://www.tatasteelconstruction.com/en/sustainability/carbon_and_steel/ [2013, September 5]. Vautoinspect.com n.d. ‘How do reduce carbon dioxide emossion’, Available: http://www.vautoinspect.com/how-toreduce-carbon-dioxide-car-emission/ [2013, September 5]. Note: All structural images are attributed to COX Architcts and Planners

Carbon dioxide would have also been produced in the transportation and construction process of all elements, particularly as a by-product of energy consumption. This energy consumed during this process is called embodied energy. All elements of the structure will have consumed energy in the acquisition, manufacturing, transport, and construction process. This may be negated however, if the energy saved throughout the lifespan of a structure, by using those certain materials, is equal or greater than the energy consumed during construction. In terms of recyclability, concrete, while having a long lifespan, cannot be recycled and reduced into its constituent parts. Steel may be melted down again, but requires and great amount of energy to do so. As previously stated, the strength-to-weight ratio of steel may be of economic benefit as less material is required to withstand the same loads. Cheaper materials may not be an economically wise choice in the long-run, and may break down quicker or require more energy and revenue to maintain.

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ERC Case Study  

University of Melbourne Constructing Environments