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HDR Rice Daubney's design for a suburban shopping centre in Wollongong, New South Wales, has been awarded two 2015 Architizer A+Awards.

The GPT Group's Wollongong Central project competed with more than 3000 entries from 80 countries to be awarded the Juror's Choice and Popular Choice A+Awards in the Shopping Centre category of what is claimed to be the largest award program for architecture in the world.

Architizer said the global audience for the Awards, now in its third year, exceeded 100 million viewers and over 200,000 public votes were received.

GPT Group partnered with BlueScope to ensure as much steel as possible from the nearby Port Kembla Steelworks could be used in the project.

GPT development manager Steven Turner said the partnership included BlueScope fast-tracking production of its new Low-Glare Coated (LGC) DECKFORM® steel, which was then still in development, so that Wollongong Central could be the first large-scale project to use the product.

The new product features a proprietary resin coating that reduces the reflected glare of structural steel decking, making it a safer product to work with compared with regular decking steel.

GPT also specified over 2000 square metres of XLERPLATE LITE® steel for the project to create a shroud of 750 blades finished in an iron oxide-style paint that adorn the building's southern elevation.

Architect Susanne Pini said that when moving around the building at ground level these blades have a kinetic effect; appearing as a solid wall of oxidised steel from side on and opening up once standing front-on. "The steel blades put up different vistas and different rhythms," she said.

"Steel is usually used as a fairly rigid material, both visually and physically, but for this project we had an idea of using it in 'impossibly' fine ways - almost in a way that's lyrical and delightful, and playful.

"The blades are an obvious reference to Wollongong's past as a 'steel city'. We felt it was logical to use steel because it could be presented in a very heroic and civic way."

In-depth coverage of the multiple Award-winning Wollongong Central project features in the upcoming May 2015 issue of Steel Profile magazine.


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HDR Rice Daubney's design for a suburban shopping centre in Wollongong has received 2015 Architizer Juror's Choice and Popular Choice A+Awards. 750 blades made from 2000 square metres of XLERPLATE LITE® steel create a 'kinetic shroud' over the building's southern facade.