Barwon Water


  • Architect: GHD Woodhead
  • Builder: Monaco Hickey
  • Photgrapher: v1s1onforce
  • Fabricator: Westcoast Windows

About the project

Refurbishment of Barwon Water’s Geelong headquarters has transformed the 50-year old office building into a state-of-the-art national award winning building – named the best piece of commercial architecture in Australia at the 2018 National Architecture Awards, and also winning the Harry Seildler Award for Commercial Architecture. A full 80 percent more efficient than the two buildings it replaced, Barwon Water HQ features a high-performance façade that eliminates 95 percent of direct sun penetration.

Barwon Water HQ is recognised as Geelong’s greenest office, housing a highly innovative curtain wall system throughout its fluid, streamlined exterior. The Capral CW175 curtain wall system was called on to play a pivotal role in realising the building’s sleek, diamond-patterned exterior, as well as achieving its much-coveted 5 Green Star rating.

‘We used the Capral CW175 curtain wall window system in the construction of this landmark building,’ says Matthew Hammond, Project Coordinator at Westcoast Windows. ‘The Capral CW175 system has been fully tested to meet Australian Standards, having been locally developed by the Capral team to meet Australia’s extreme climate conditions.  As Capral supplied an off-the-shelf system to accommodate the building’s new mid-size curtain wall, the hard work had already been done for us.

‘Given the imposing size of the glazed units, along with the thermal performance targets we were required to meet, the window and glazing system we installed had to be extremely effective,’ Matthew continues. ‘Working in tandem with the optimal glazing specification, the Capral CW175 window system was crucial in meeting the project’s demanding energy requirements.’

Thanks to its ease of use, installing the Capral façade was a relatively straightforward process – even for such a demanding application. ‘Fitting the CW175 was quite intuitive,’ confirms Matt. ‘The only thing we had to adapt was the bracket system, which was altered for this specific application.’

The most involved aspect of the Barwon Water project was the sunshades, whose depth made the process of fitting the façade slightly more complicated than it otherwise would have been. ‘The large aluminium louvres on the façade were included to meet the project’s shading requirements,’ Matt explains. ‘The architect sought to convert this into an aesthetic feature by recreating the sunshades’ architectural dimensions, rather than simply installing flat horizontal or vertical plates along the exterior.’

Throughout the project, the supply element was consistently straightforward. ‘The CW175 is a standard item stocked by Capral; if we ever ran into shortages, we were always able to get replacements supplied by them at short notice,’ Matt says.

The Barwon Water HQ’s window system had to work seamlessly with its decorative glazing specification. ‘The frit-patterned glazing was imported,’ Matt reveals. ‘It was an involved process to ensure the design was ratified with enough leeway to account for potential delays with lead times.

‘The façade’s extensive glazing required 400-odd glazed units for the project, with quite a few different sizes and patterns in total. Fortunately, while the custom glazing itself was more complex than ordering an off-the-shelf product, using Capral made it substantially easier to surpass this mammoth task’s intensive demands.’


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