elZinc® - Adelaide Convention Centre / by Bradley Till


The recently opened East Building of the Adelaide Convention Centre is the work of WOODS BAGOT architectural office, who describes it as "one of the world’s most adaptable and dynamic meeting spaces, entirely connected to the city it serves”. This project represents a new generation of Convention Centres which capitalise on Woods Bagot’s expertise in blurring boundaries between workplace, hospitality and education.

The design of the East Building results from the constraints of the site and has been “moulded” by the panoramic views, circulation and the environment of the river Torrens. Its external shape and red coloured zinc cladding were inspired by the granite rock formations known as The Remarkables found on the Kangaroo Island, near Adelaide.

Building Structure

The building is divided in two levels, with an effective surface area of 8.700m2 equipped with a new Plenary Hall with capacity for 3.500 guests. It includes a series of features that enhance its flexibility, being able to change into 15 different configurations to adapt to the needs of each event.

From a physical and operational point of view, the three buildings are interconnected on each level, and the halls open to each other, making movement easy. The most spectacular link between the buildings is the new Skyway, an elevated walkway connecting the east and west wings providing great views of the neighbouring riverbank.

Below is an incredible time lapse video of the building of the Convention Center in Adelaide, Australia.

Building Design

The outer skin of the East Building was clad with red coloured zinc-titanium: elZinc Rainbow® Red. The sculptural exterior shape was made using triangular surfaces which together generate multiple faces, emulating the many crystals of a geode.

To create an envelope which would fit over such complex shapes, a high-tech multi-layered system was chosen that guarantees the proper waterproofing and heat insulation required for the building to function efficiently. This includes sandwich panels such as Kingspan PIR with foam joints and nodes sealed with a weather-resistant wrapping, covered in a self-adhesive, rubberised asphalt, waterproof membrane, followed by air mesh mat and pigmented elZinc® cladding shingles which adapt perfectly to the multiple folds of the building’s exterior.

One of the most complicated issues that had to be addressed by the cladding package was the transition between different folds of triangular surfaces, whose edges had to have a slightly curved shape without creating creases or kinks on the zinc sheets.

To further complicate things, the curvature in some of these transitions is gradually reduced from one end of the edge to the other. As well as properly preparing the base with an appropriate curvature, a decision was made to pre-curve the zinc shingles before their fitting, in order to avoid any buckling along the edges and guarantee a smooth transition from surface to surface.

The critical points in the cladding are located in the corners and especially in the area known to the project team as “The knott”, where six edges meet, making it impossible to maintain the continuity of the zinc cladding. To resolve this problem the use of a joint to ‘stich’ the shingles together was chosen, starting at the corner and following the edge with least inclination to seamlessly join the line between the glazed area to its right and the zinc immediately above. This way the ‘stitching’ seems to be part of the design and blends perfectly with the geometry of the area, without drawing attention to itself and ruining the detail

It’s lasting and malleable, able to follow the curved, folded shapes of the building. Zinc is a plentiful resource, it is non-toxic and 100% recyclable"

elZinc Rainbow®

elZinc Rainbow® Red was the material used for the exterior cladding with a thickness of 0.7mm. It was supplied by Zinc Ibérico in 600mm wide coils that were used to manufacture more than 10,000 handmade elements which were fitted on site.

elZinc Rainbow® is a zinc-titanium rolled and manufactured from pre-weathered zinc elZinc Slate®, treated with mineral pigments. Its organic coating provides it with additional anticorrosion protection turning it into an exceptionally durable and aesthetically attractive product. Stuart from Woods Bagot explained that elZinc Rainbow® red proved to be the perfect cladding material for the building. “It’s lasting and malleable, able to follow the curved, folded shapes of the building. Zinc is a plentiful resource, it is non-toxic and 100% recyclable" , he declared.

Project Details

Application: Cover and facade

Surface appearance: elZinc Rainbow red

System: Flat Board

Distributor: Zinc Iberico Pty Ltd

Architect: Woods Bagot

Installer: Cladding and Roofing Contractors Pty Ltd

Date: 2017

Source: https://www.elzinc.es/en/caso-estudio-centro-convenciones-adelaide/