12th October 2010
On The Beat - A Glass Case
Police stations have generally fallen in number while increasing in their overall size to deal with expanding domains and greater complexity of operation. Many are among the most unappealing civic designs, poorly attuned to work involving long hours and difficult work and in many cases, the result is far from a civic showcase. Bendigo's police headquarters has prismatic and purposeful spatial qualities and a community presence that is more engaging, less confronting and befitting of contemporary law enforcement. The new facility demonstrates civic spirit and endeavour with improved employee and community morale an obvious benefit. Lightweight construction and high performance glazing gives the architecture contoured finesse. The idea of sustainability is wholly integrated in the design and glazing is intelligently used to maximize light while resisting summer solar heat gain. The design supports the dichotomy of a modern police force that requires 24-hour operational security and street surveillance, while presenting an accessible and transparent public image. Project principal Greg Anson of FMSA Architects notes that a culture of openness and transparency was noticeable throughout the design process. Such an extensive use of glazing had other benefits: “The glass eyelids are an environmental device designed to reduce energy consumption by seasonal shading of the western and northern inner facades. This creates a controllable, thermal buffer where windows can be opened to access cleaner, cooler or warmer air (depending on the season) without the potential traffic noise and security issues." The demand for modern workplaces to be quality environments and, ultimately, neighbours extends the role of design to a wider social responsibility. More than ever, buildings are being assessed on a performance basis that could be expected of road, sea and air travel. Necessity increasingly dictates that these are fully responsive to their occupants and environment. Projects such as the Bendigo Police Station demonstrate how buildings are effectively shedding mass to become thinner, lighter and ultimately ‘Greener’. Thermal mass is used where it is needed at its base. Bulk is on the way out in favour of lighter, light-filled buildings with luminous amenity. Viridian performance glass products can provide a key design feature, providing environmental and contemporary benefits to new projects and allowing for the space, light and aesthetic qualities that only glass can deliver. Read the full Bendigo Police Station Story on the Viridian website and let us know here at Glass Talks about your new project and how you used performance glass.