Phillip Island sits just off the Victorian coastline some 140 kilometres south east of Melbourne and is perhaps best known for two things, hosting the Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix and being home to Australia’s largest colony of fairy penguins.
Both attract tens of thousands of visitors each year and provide a strong juxtaposition, the high speed and exhilaration of motor racing and the nature-based experience of tiny penguins making the slow journey up the beach from the water to their nests.
Opened in 2019 by Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews, the Penguin Parade Visitor Centre again provides contrasts, a state-of-the-art, sharp angled and modern building that lies a stone’s throw from the pristine, rugged open water coastline of Bass Strait.
Replacing an old structure from 30 years ago that was out-of-date and too small, the new Penguin Parade Visitor Centre offers a theatre, a dedicated education wing, an interpretive habitat space which provides a ‘penguin’s view’ of the world, as well as a range of dining and retail facilities.
The star-shaped building, which won two Victorian Architecture Awards and an International Architecture Award, is positioned between three distinct landscapes on the Summerland Peninsula: dunes, headland and wetlands. The environmentally-sensitive nature of the site sees the facility incorporate over 650 solar panels on the expansive roof, a water filtration system, extensive roof and floor insulation, double glazed windows, and where possible low carbon building materials have been used.
According to Lysaght Business Development Manager, Aman Pannu, Lysaght’s involvement in the project began in the early stages of planning, with Terroir Architects approaching the company with specific requirements for the building’s unique roof.
“The roof was to form a key component of the building’s overall appearance. It’s very visual in the way it’s been designed, so Terroir was looking to specify a material that would allow for longer runs – they didn’t want any steps,” Aman said.
“LYSAGHT KLIP-LOK 700 HI-STRENGTH® roofing was an ideal product in that it provided the ability to meet these requirements, delivering a smooth linear finish, while being available in a wide range of colours.”
Aman said that as well as being visually appealing, given the building’s location fronting Bass Strait, the roofing material had to be long-lasting.
“The concealed fixing system of KLIP-LOK 700 HI-STRENGTH® cladding provides superior water tightness and the product has also earned FM Global approval making it well suited to demanding environments,” he said.
In progressing the project, Lysaght developed a strong working relationship with roofing contractor, Signal and Hobbs, and also provided advice during the build process to the architects and builder.
Terroir Architects Associate, Dave McPeak, said the design and build went smoothly and that Lysaght was always on hand to offer advice.
“Throughout the design process we worked closely with Aman Pannu and we found his advice and knowledge of the available products invaluable,” Dave said.
“Aman helped us with the profile specification and suitability of finishes for the coastal environment. His advice regarding the warranty period was very helpful in the decision to use the specified product.”
Dave also said that KLIP-LOK 700 HI-STRENGTH® cladding was an excellent fit for the requirements of the project.
“KLIP-LOK 700 HI-STRENGTH® roofing was the ideal profile for the coastal building location due its weather tightness. The COLORBOND® Ultra steel in the colour Cosmic™ was specified for its suitability for the severe coastal environment and visually complimented the zinc tiles used on the facades of the building,” he said.
“Overall, fast and helpful advice was provided to Terroir by Lysaght at all stages of the project.”
Since the completion of the Penguin Parade Visitor Centre, Lysaght has worked with Terroir on other projects with both agreeing that over time Penguin Parade has the potential to become a landmark building for Victoria.