Rafter trusses supplied by Pryda Australia have been used in the construction of a 100% sustainable and recyclable Meditation and Indigenous Cultural Centre at Bentleigh Secondary College. The college was recognised last year as the world’s most sustainable education institution at the International Green Awards.
Suter Architects was required to design a building where college students could meditate in a calming environment, would last at least 200 years and have a minimal carbon footprint. Using only timber for construction, the architects designed a building with curved walls and roof. Other elements in the construction included silver top ash for the external wall cladding and hoop pine plywood for the interior, with internal flooring and exterior decks made from blackbutt.
Builder Dzine Construction approached Pryda directly to design the rafter trusses for the job. Pryda engineering associate Nick Cui carried out the initial work using Pryda Build software to incorporate the rafter trusses (Pryda Span with metal webs) into a complex design of curved walls and varying heights before forwarding the file to several Pryda fabricators for quotes.
Mr Cui explains that the curved roof and walls resulted in each truss having a different span ranging from 1.2 metres to 11.6 metres. Time was a critical factor for both design and manufacture because Pryda was approached by the builder only three weeks before Christmas. Given the time constraints for completion, the construction had to continue over the holiday break.
According to Mr Cui, Pryda Span was particularly applicable to the meditation centre because the long spans achieved excellent performance, truss ends could be customised for various support configurations, the open webs allowed services to be passed through the roof spaces without any cutting of the trusses, and were also easy to install.
Dzine Construction erected all the rafter trusses in a little more than a day and found the open webs ideal for the subsequent installation of services such as plumbing and air conditioning.
Timba Truss at Carrum Downs was chosen for the job with manager Michael Burdack saying that the company had been keen to take on the challenge, having already supplied open web roof trusses to school buildings and manufacturing them for many unusual shaped premises in the past. Timba Truss, which has been a Pryda fabricator for about 30 years, was not fazed by the tight deadline for the 135 lineal metres required for the centre, completing the manufacture easily within the allotted time frame.
Using the latest Pryda Build truss design software, Timba Truss was able to utilise the CAD files provided by Suter Architects to ensure the trusses were designed to match the profile of the building.
The new meditation centre at Bentleigh Secondary College has added further to the institution’s sustainability commitment, which includes installation of 125,000 and 50,000 litre water tanks to harvest rainwater for toilet flushing and establishment of the Moorooboon Wetland area within the college grounds to capture any excess water not covered by the tanks. This has resulted in total mains water usage dropping by 91%, which also brought the college a gold accreditation from the Victorian Government’s ‘Water – Learn it! Live it!’ Program.
Other energy-saving and greenhouse reducing emission initiatives include installation of a 5.25 kilowatt photovoltaic solar system and wind turbine to power the meditation centre, and the planting of 2,000m² of native forest on school grounds.
Pryda was so impressed with these community sustainability initiatives that the company donated the nailplate costs and Pryda Span rafter trusses used in the meditation centre project. The builder, other product suppliers and the architect also chipped in by providing services and material at cost, resulting in an overall saving of about $250,000.