In the heart of Karratha in Western Australia, sits the new Red Earth Arts Precinct, a cultural epicenter for the community at large. The arts and culture center features a over 450 seat theater, rooftop cinema, outdoor amphitheater, gallery and public historical library. The colossal center was designed to emulate the surrounding Karratha hills with an textured exterior façade.
The building, designed by Peter Hunt Architects, is unparalleled in the small city and seeks to serve the larger Pilbara community. The architects describe, “The primary external cladding material utilizes a prefinished metal sheet with a unique textured finish, a first for an Australian building.”
The exterior façade, fabricated by DENMAC, features a variety of Alucobond Plus aluminum composite finishes. Most impressively is the use of Alucobond’s newest Terra series in the finish Terracotta. The finish mimics the look of real terracotta, without the weight and heightened durability to withstand the excessive wind load the area ensures. Additionally, the exterior utilizes Alucobond’s Lava Nera, Silver Metallic and White 16.
The fabricators at DENMAC explain, “The highly visible façade creates a unique statement for visitors entering the town of Karratha…we provided the design, supply, fabrication and construction of the façade incorporating the external cladding and roofing package with the design intent of creating a building which will withstand a ‘one in a hundred year’ Category 5 cyclone.”
The construction of a building with the potential of such high wind loads was challenging. The team further describes, “We [the team] conceived, designed and engineered a cost effective sub-structure to complement the main steel structure to deal with significant wind loads and pressures and to support the predominant finished final product of textured Alucobond aluminum composite panels reflecting the Karratha Hills. The complex interfaces between the structure, roof and façade, coupled with the fact that works were undertaken in a cyclone region, made this an extremely challenging project.”
The resulting façade is flawless. Undulating with the natural fluidity of its surroundings. The precinct hopes to provide a space for creatives to experience art and culture mostly available in larger metropolitan areas. This dynamic façade not only provides a destination, it puts the city of Karratha on the map.