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The South Australia Drill Core Reference Library at Tonsley has received two Awards at the South Australian Architecture Awards 2016 held in Adelaide on 2 July 2016 :

Award citations

South Australia Drill Core Reference Library: award for commercial architectureProject name: South Australian Drill Core Reference Library
Practice name: Thomson Rossi
Award given: Architecture Award for Commercial Architecture
Award citation: The South Australian Drill Core Reference Library occupies an important gateway site at the entry to the Tonsley redevelopment.

The facility is primarily a 'warehouse' of drill core samples, however the building cleverly integrates this utility into an integrated facility for reference, research and education. This new library provides a high quality
facility commensurate with the historical, geological and economic significance of the collection to South Australia. Not only has the building consolidated several collections into one, but it has also incorporated the latest in technology, such as 3D visualisation suites, and paid due attention to security and privacy requirements of the people who will use the space.

The building has several raw and literal references saluting the contents stored within, the most prominent of which are:

  • the 'living' rusted steel facade emerging from the substrate of precast concrete and allowed to
  • stain adjoining surfaces 'naturally'
  • the fracture lines exhibited in the walls and cladding
  • material and finishes references continuing internally
  • even patterning hinting at sieves and screening.

These are all references that, with a high level of articulation and detail, simply work. The primary architectural expression of oxidised steel and precast concrete responds to the geological and material qualities of the collection and provides an exciting identity.

Thomson Rossi are congratulated on their role in realising the full potential of the project and for producing very high quality commercial architecture.


South Australia Drill Core Reference Library: COLORBOND Award for Steel Architecture

Jury: Sean Humphries, Kirsteen Mackay, Tony Materne, Matt Davis, David Brown, Anthony Coupe, Mark Amos (BlueScope Consultant)
Project name: South Australian Drill Core Reference Library
Practice name: Thomson Rossi
Award given: COLORBOND® Award for Steel Architecture
Award citation: The new South Australia Drill Core Reference Library houses South Australia’s collection of drill core material and represents a unique opportunity to consolidate and showcase an
important State resource that was previously fragmented and invisible to the community.

Steel was cleverly used in the project in two important ways, both aesthetically and structurally. The use of external cladding materials cleverly draws inspiration from the intended building use and the subject matter held within. A façade that makes no apologies for its deliberately raw appearance has similarities to the drill cores themselves with fractured changes in both the colour palette and texture as if through various strata of the rock. This façade is a combination of weathering steel panels that gradually give way to articulated precast panels. Copper inserts in the precast further emphasisethe geological ‘grain’. A dark COLORBOND® steel cladding is then used to clad the logistics and processing area, which is represented as a secondary form running parallel to the library and administration area, like a vein of ore or mineral.

Significant cantilever weathering steel cladding, in both solid and perforated panels creates a sense of drama as you are led to a recessed glass entrance. Perforated panels above the entrance are still heavy in appearance but allow filtered light to penetrate reception and exhibition spaces enhancing the experience for visitors. It is through this dramatic entrance into the large core viewing space where hidden structural steel cross members are strategically used. This neat elusion maximises the open feeling of the ceiling space as light floods through the skylights of the saw-tooth roofs exposing steel beams which seemingly hang off this visually lightweight ceiling.

In addition, the use of steel for first floor balustrading compliments the clinical minimal finishes to give the viewing space the feel of an industrial library. This detailing is further continued on the two generous staircases, which enhance the robust nature of this building.

The South Australia Drill Core Reference Library’s cleverly employs and executes a multi facet approach to the use of steel within the building, delivering a complex and sophisticated built outcome.