Melding Modern Materials with an Iconic Heritage Building
The historic MLC building is a prominent sandstone icon of Martin Place. The heritage listed commercial development, located in central Sydney CBD was originally built in the 1930s, and has previously undergone redevelopment in the 1980s.
The building is currently undergoing redevelopment to incorporate a large feature atrium through the centre of the building and to add two new storeys above, using Cross Laminated Timber (CLT). The building required a bespoke ﬁre engineering strategy that had to consider the heritage nature of the building and the speciﬁc requirements by the building owner to have an open atrium and highly interconnected working space.
Holmes Fire’s previous experience with atrium design and our established relationship with local Fire Brigades allowed our team to provide the client and design team with specialist fire safety advice that shaped the atrium design to satisfy the safety requirements whilst also staying sympathetic to all other stakeholder objectives. The resulting design ticked all the boxes in terms of architecturally beautify, architecturally functional, flexible to accommodate tenant fitouts and robust enough to deliver occupant safety in a fire scenario. Specifically our design adopted horizontal fire curtains at the base of the atrium void thereby separating out the Ground Level portions and providing flexibility for the use of this Ground Level space to include a café, displays and decorations.
Structural Fire Engineering was also utilised to rationalise and optimise the level of protection to be applied to the mass timber structure while ensuring that structural stability and occupant life safety is maintained. Advanced ﬁnite element modelling is being used to establish a holistic and cost eﬀective re-mediation strategy to the dilapidated existing steel concrete composite structure, which does not comply with the most recent ﬁre standards.