Aluminium perforated panels from Locker Group were selected as the ideal substrate to provide shade and natural light at the new dining hall of the Latrobe University campus in Bendigo, VIC.

Architecture firm Billard Leece Partnership visualised a clean and sophisticated metal finish product that would provide contrasting textural elements to the building. The design team intended to utilise a single finish across a number of different planes to provide a seamless effect throughout the project.

Billard Leece specified 3mm aluminium perforated panels featuring 12.7mm diameter holes for the façade and balustrade, helping provide shade while also allowing natural light to flow through the building.

Both Locker Group and the fabricator were challenged by the angle and shape of the façade that surrounded two faces of the dining hall. Instead of using a traditional face fixing method, the team developed a system where cleats were used to mount the perforated panels to the supporting RHS structure.

Despite the sharp folds and angles, the final finish appears smooth and clean with each perforated panel individually folded to fit cleanly with the supports behind. Given the geometric design, hardly any panels incorporated a 90-degree angle. Each façade had to be matched and measured specifically, so the connecting point of the folded border met seamlessly with the cleats.

Perforated metal panels were also installed over the external walkway enveloping the dining hall with the panels face fixed at a distance to the right angled sheet structure, providing an industrial aesthetic.

The sleek appearance of the perforated balustrade, façade and external ceiling panels provides a chic industrial appeal to the regional campus.

The balustrade provides protection for alfresco dining, enabling students to eat and study without discomfort from the harsh glare. Similarly, the façade protects people in the dining room from the heat during summer, while allowing a warm winter sun to infuse the space during the cold season.

Perforated panels installed horizontally around the building provide shading protection for students and staff.

Photography: Rob Burnett