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The Eureka Tower is a residential tower block complex on a 52,724ft² (4,900m²) site in the South Bank suburb of Port Philip, Melbourne, Australia. The tower was developed as a joint venture between Grocon (the constructor), Tab Fried (a Melbourne investor), Nonda Katsalidis and Karl Fender (the architects) who all combined to form a company, Eureka Tower Pty Ltd, which owns the tower.
The tower is named after the Eureka Stockade rebellion during the 1854 Victoria gold rush (the building crown is gold coloured with a red stripe representing the gold and the bloodshed). The horizontal lines on the building represent the markings on a ruler and the blue façade with white lines is supposed to represent the blue and white flag of the stockade.
Construction began in August 2002, the exterior of the tower was completed by 1 June 2006 and the building was officially opened on 11 October 2006. Residents had occupied apartments up to level 80 by July 2006. By 2009, all the levels were sold except the complete penthouse floor on level 85.
The site of construction is an area of reclaimed swampland and the tower has special foundations to reflect this. The tower is 297.3m (984.3ft) high and consists of 91 floors (plus one underground) with 84 floors of apartments and briefly became Australia’s tallest building, superceding the Rialto, also situated in Melbourne, by 46.3m.
Australia’s tallest building?
The Eureka is actually the world’s tallest residential tower (and Australia’s tallest building) if measured to its top floor but officially the Q1 apartment tower in Gold Coast, Queensland has a higher structural tip at 322.5m in height, which by skyscraper standards technically makes it the taller residential tower. The Eureka Tower cost an estimated A$500m to construct.
Eureka Tower contractors
The architect for the Eureka Tower was Fender Katasalidis Architects (using Archicad software from Graphisoft); the civil engineering was carried out by Connell Mott Macdonald; the construction contractors are Grocon Constructors Pty Ltd and Lubeca Construction Pty Ltd. Vibropile supplied materials and equipment for the foundations.
The supplier for other construction materials was Philippe Starck; the prestressing of concrete floor beams was carried out by Austress Freyssinet; the geotechnical engineering was carried out by Golder Associates.
Building services including mechanical and electrical engineering, fire safety engineering, air conditioning and heating systems was carried out by Norman Disney & Young. The elevators were supplied by Otis Elevator and installed by Norman Disney & Young. The lighting and the façade was supplied by Meinhardt Australia. The landscaping was designed by Tract.
Construction – foundations and materials
The construction of the foundations was carried out in a special manner because of the presence of two layers of basalt above the base layer of Silurian siltstone bedrock (occurring at a depth of 35m). The Yarra River water table is situated only 2m below the tower site. The foundations used 243 continuous auger piles of 750mm diameter and where conditions dictated, 28 bored piles, 1.5m in diameter, were anchored 3m into the siltstone.
Grocon used Favco construction cranes to move materials to the floor area where they were required. The building was constructed from reinforced concrete (slipform method) and prestressed concrete. The tower design used a central core with columns on the perimeter and a 150mm floor slab thickness along with 800mm deep perimeter beams. A total of 5,000t of structural steel and 110,000t of concrete were used in the construction of the 200,000t tower. Most concrete pouring was carried out by two mobile concrete pumps or two Putzmeister tower-mounted pumping booms.
The contractor also used a Putzmeister 35A 14000 HPD concrete pump to transfer 100MPa concrete to specific areas for specialised uses. The required concrete strength decreased as the building height increased; 40MPa was used on the upper 15 floors, while 100MPa was used at the lower levels.
A Grocon-Lubeca jump form was used for the core, which was one of the project priorities so that the lift motor room could be built and outfitted. Grocon and Lubeca built the table forms for the floors to a dimension of 2.4m×3.6m. These had casters for portability and a hoist was used to move the formers between floors.
The façade of the building consists of 52,000m² glass and 40,000m² of aluminium panels. The glass is specially designed to reflect heat in the summer but retain heat in the winter and also to be light and durable. The glass skin ‘double glazing’ will reduce heating and cooling costs by 40% in an environmentally friendly manner. The top ten floors of the tower have 24ct-gold-coated glass as a façade.
The first panes of gold glass were added to the City Road side of the building in late October 2005. Gold glass now covers level 82 to the roof on level 92 and the north-east and south-west faces of the tower have gold double glazing. The gold glass was manufactured in Canada by AFGD and shipped to Melbourne. The window panels weigh between 150kg and 200kg each depending on their size and over 400 of the panels were installed on the top 11 levels (installation completed in March 2006)
Eureka tower elevators
The elevators for the building were supplied by Otis. In the first stage of the building Otis supplied nine Elevonic 411 elevator systems for installation adjacent to the central core. In addition there are also two Skyway elevators that rise at a speed of 9m/s and can elevate a car to the top of the building in 40 seconds. These will serve the observation decks. The alternative is 3,680 stairs.
Also, two Gen2 elevator systems were installed, which are a state-of-the-art design since they require no machine room and use flat polyurethane coated steel belts rather than traditional steel cables. The unique traction of the belt system allows smaller, quieter, less powerful and maintenance-free permanent magnet hoist machinery and controller systems to be installed in the hoist way. These elevators serve the residential tower and the basement. The elevators are the fastest in the southern hemisphere.
The Eureka Tower contains 556 residential apartments of various sizes between floor 11 and floor 80, including some large luxury apartments and penthouses. The apartment levels are divided into three distinct areas within the complex all with separate entrances: floors 11 to 24 are ‘river rise’; floors 25 to 52 are ‘premier rise’; while floors 53 to 80 are ‘sky rise’.
Every apartment has its own laundry, opening windows and either a balcony or a winter garden. Levels 11–24, 26–52 and 54–55 have a floor area of 15,322ft² (1,424m²); 56–64 have a floor space of 10,760ft² (1,000m²) and 65–87 have a working floor area of 6,994ft² (650m²).
Between ground level and floor 11 there are offices, restaurants, a residents’ car park for 814 cars (first nine floors), a health and fitness centre, a swimming pool and retail areas. The top nine floors of the complex, known as ‘summit complex’, have public viewing areas, restaurants, an observatory (Eureka Sky Deck 88 at 282m), a function centre, a nightclub on level 87 and a hotel.
The skydeck was opened in May 2007 and features thirty viewfinders an observation terrace and a glass cube which hangs over the side of the building giving people the chance of a ‘ride’. The opaque edge projects 3m over the side with tourists inside and then the glass becomes clear giving a fabulous view of the surrounding buildings and vista.
Two floors are used as service and plant floors. There are also specialised areas, such as the 82nd to 87th floor penthouse apartments (the summit), which are the highest apartments in Melbourne and with one floor dedicated to each cost around A$7m before decoration and fitting out. The foyer is clad in Italian marble with designer furniture and has 6m-high ceilings.
The top of the tower can actually flex around 600mm in high winds and there are two 300,000l tanks of water on floors 91 and 90 to assist in dampening the oscillations set up by the wind.
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