Swanbury Penglase - News

New Sitenotes out now

Spring is finally upon us and with it comes the third issue of Sitenotes for the year.  This issue features two of our recent residential projects and an update on what’s happening at the Swanbury Penglase office.

You can view our newsletter online here or if you’d like to join our mailing list, please feel free to send us an email.

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Swanbury Penglase Interiors Team – We’re Serious About Interiors

Interior Design has been an integral part of Swanbury Penglase since 1998 and eighteen years on they’ve grown from one person to a team of seven. Co-led by Director Elizabeth Swanbury and Senior Associate Felicity Hope, the team is a significant and recognised part of the Swanbury Penglase multi-disciplinary approach, last year receiving an Australian Institute of Architects (AIA) Interior Architecture Award and Commendation for their efforts. This follows success in earlier years with Gold and Silver Awards from the Design Institute of Australia (DIA).

The team is a great mix of youth and experience, with Zoe Avon the next most senior member and project leader having been with SPA since 2004.  We are also pleased to announce Zoe has accepted a position as Associate and we look forward to her taking on this role. Working alongside her are Erin Depledge and Jasmine Brooksby with three and four years experience respectively whilst new graduates Matthew James and Rebecca McMillan joined us this year.

Early involvement in the planning stages of a project to assess both current and future needs is critical to the delivery of high quality interior spaces. The “hand-in-hand” approach of architecture and interiors together ensures all aspects of the user experience have been thought through and that both work seamlessly together.

In addition to working closely with our architecture and landscape teams, the interiors group is regularly involved with our Heritage group, their expertise and experience with colour and materials playing a crucial role in the delivery of these challenging and sensitive projects.

The team is currently working across a broad range of projects including schools: St Peters Girls and St Andrews, the Adelaide Town Hall with the Adelaide City Council, the University of South Australia’s Health Innovation Building with BVN Architecture as well as numerous other projects, both commercial and residential.

Please get in contact with Elizabeth or Felicity should you have a project to discuss or if you want to know more.

Swanbury Penglase won the AIA Interior Architecture Award for the Margaret Ames Centre and AIA Commendation for the New Mental Health Hospital at Glenside. In 2012 the team received a DIA Gold Award for Australian Red Cross Blood Donor Centre in Regent Arcade and in 2010 and DIA Silver Award for the University College London fitout in the Torrens Building.

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Adelaide Town Hall Auditorium Painting Timelapse Video

Adelaide Town Hall is about to have its 150th birthday, having been officially opened on 20 June 1866. It was the first of the great Town hall buildings erected in Australia, and at that time it was by far the largest and grandest building in Adelaide, standing head and shoulders above the largely single storey and quite sparse city.

The Auditorium on the first floor was the central element of the building and it has survived intact to the present day. As something of a birthday present, Adelaide City Council proposed to repaint the space after its last redecoration 30 years ago. Each time this large space was previously painted it had been closed for months, but as it is today a much sought after space, only a period of seven straight days were free to carry out the work.

Achieving the seemingly impossible, a team of about 28, including painters, scaffolders, conservators and Council staff, worked 24 hours a day for the seven days to complete the work.

Swanbury Penglase were fortunate in having been involved in the project, including carrying out preliminary inspections of the ceiling, research to understand the history of the redecoration of the space, preparation of a revised colour scheme as well as inspections while the work was underway.

A 2-minute timelapse video records a taste of this remarkable effort of all those involved. Thanks to Adelaide City Council and Chris Oaten of Insight Visuals.

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Laboratory Precision – Expertise and Experience at Swanbury Penglase

Since its inception in 1989, Swanbury Penglase has been designing teaching laboratories as part of our educational work. In the last ten to fifteen years we have been building our experience in more complex research and professional laboratory spaces.

Notable examples include the Anatomical Pathology Cut-Up Laboratory at Flinders Medical Centre, a PC3 Containment facility for SA Pathology (a South Australian first), the George Rogers Microscopy Laboratory at the University of Adelaide and the M2 and the Plasso Development at the University of South Australia’s Mawson Lakes campus.

The team delivering this work has grown as well and is led by Associate Director Matthew Raven and Associate Jason Timberlake. Both experienced architects, Matthew and Jason understand the rigour required to deliver these precise and exacting spaces.

Architect Marty Frost has also joined us recently and brings with him an excellent background in laboratory design.  Marty provides strong support to the team and is quickly developing a reputation for reliable project delivery.

A strong understanding of building services, the ability to coordinate complex brief requirements and thinking laterally about problems has ensured smart and effective results for our clients, often within the constraints of refurbished building spaces.

While all three have a technical focus, Jason also has extensive experience in large, multiple stakeholder projects and led the project team in the delivery of the New Mental Health Facility at Glenside in 2013.

The team is currently involved with the University of South Australia’s new Health Innovation Building on North Terrace. The facility is home to a number of related functions and has a strong laboratory focus, housing the world leading Centre for Cancer Biology research spaces including an animal house.

Supported by both the architectural and interiors team, they would welcome the opportunity to talk to you about their experience in this space and your next project.


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Drone Footage of Mullawirra at Willunga

We recently completed Mullawirra, a new residence on a greenfield site at the top of Willunga Hill which you can read more about here. While we were down on site with photographer David Russell, we were lucky enough to get some drone footage of the project. The birds eye view really captures the beauty and remoteness of the site and gives an insight into just why our clients are loving their sea change. We look forward to revisiting the project once the landscaping has been complete.

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A New Year – Fresh Faces at Swanbury Penglase

Some good news to start 2016 with Swanbury Penglase are pleased to announce the appointment of five UniSA graduates of Architecture and Interior Architecture from last year.

“New talent straight out of Uni is vital to the continued growth and success of Swanbury Penglase” said Director Andrew Phillips. “Graduates are technologically literate and bring new and exciting design presentation skills that reinvigorate our practice, ensuring we move with the times. At the same time we can build their skills on the practical side of the business including documentation, contract administration and working with clients. It’s a great opportunity for everyone”.

Victor Ho, Nathan McEwen and Taylor Angel are Graduates of Architecture from UniSA, completing the course at the end of 2015. Some of you may have seen Victor around the office as he joined us at the end of fourth year for the holidays and continued working one day a week during final year. Taylor commenced with us soon after the final year exhibition late last year and Nathan started a few weeks ago. We are looking forward to the contribution they will make to our architecture team in the future.

Rebecca McMillian and Matthew James, both graduates from the UniSA Interior Architecture Program of 2015 have also joined our team. Matthew commenced with our interiors group late in November last year and up until then had an extended placement while still studying at another Adelaide firm. Rebecca joined us in January and both have been thrown in the deep-end as the team continues to be very busy.

A warm welcome to you all; not just to Swanbury Penglase but to the industry in general and all the very best for a long and prosperous career ahead.

Finally, special thanks to our good friend Sam and his team at Paddy’s Lantern for letting us take over for a while to take these pictures. Brilliant coffee, food and amazing (and patient) staff.

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ICOMOS Conference Old Parliament House

Our heritage team leader Andrew Klenke presented a Paper to the Australia ICOMOS Conference ‘Fabric’ during November 2015.

Andrew spoke about Old Parliament House in relation to the technical approach to conserving fabric.  Andrew has also written an essay on Old Parliament House which has been published in Materiality Brick and Block in Contemporary Australian Architecture (Ron Ringer, 2015).

If you would like to read the full paper presented at ICOMOS, please click here.

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Australian Civic Trust Awards 2015

The Australian Civic Trust Awards were held recently and we were happy to walk away with three awards across two projects. The Elder Park Rotunda restoration was acknowledged with the Colonel William Light Award for Excellence in Design. The jury citation stated that the ‘restoration was undertaken at a high standard…without compromising the cultural significance of the structure.’ The project was also the winner of the People’s Choice Award, so thank you to everyone in the public who voted.

The restoration of Ayers House was the recipient of an award in the Urban Category. The structure and exterior of the building was showing signs of age and deterioration before a four year project to return it to its former glory commenced. The result according to the jury is ‘an award winning building, beautifully conserved using the best materials and practice available whilst respecting the heritage values.’

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Hart’s Mill

The Stage 1 conservation works on the two former Hart’s Mill flour mill buildings at Port Adelaide, which Swanbury Penglase documented for Renewal SA, is drawing to a close.

A landmark element is the large wind driven vent that crowns the ridge of the roof at the top of the tall brick mill building. Its exact age is uncertain, but similar vents have been installed on this part of the roof for over 100 years.

Affectionately called ‘the tuba’ by the trades of the contractor, G-Force, the vent had to be disconnected and craned down to the ground to properly carry out the necessary repairs. This was mainly due to corrosion of the steel which were placing it at risk of collapse. The repairs were carried out by Metal Fabricators at Edwardstown, including welding in a new plate at the central support pivot, replacing the bottom ring and the rim of the wind vein, as well as welding in new steel to major holes around its base. Repairs were also carried out to the bearing which had prevented the vent swinging around with the direction of the wind.

The vent was then fully prepared and painted using a very durable paint system and a grille fitted within its mouth to prevent the pigeons that had previously been roosting within the structure. The timber support structure which had been suffering from rot caused by water entering through the rust holes was in the meantime repaired, before the vent was lifted back into place. Interestingly the top sits on the base without any fixings, kept in place by its own self weight.

While not quite as good as new, the signature vent can now look forward to a much extended lease of life.

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Fullarton Residence – Work In Progress

For our latest residential project our client approached us with a brief to create a new environmentally sustainable two bedroom home to replace their existing 1960’s energy sapping cream brick residence.

The resulting design comprises an in-situ concrete raft slab, steel superstructure, LVL rafters and reverse brick veneer wall construction to both the skillion roofed open plan living area and the sleeping quarters. The cladding is predominantly reverse brick veneer with a lightweight steel lining to the external side and masonry internally in order to protect the thermal mass.

The form of the house is striking, with wrapped skillion ends to buffer eastern and western sun whilst opening up living areas to the northern light. Thermal performance was a major factor in siting the plan-form; carefully positioned awnings and retractable blinds ensure optimal active environmental control.

The use of reverse brick-veneer construction has also enabled the masonry thermal mass to be insulated via the use of high performance thermal (and acoustic) insulation.

The plan defines a separation of living and sleeping quarters, expressed in such a way to present two distinct plan forms, linked by a central glazed hallway link. This has also enabled the creation of separate summer and winter courtyards, located to take advantage of conditions responsive to the extreme ends of each season.

The project is currently on site and is due for completion in early 2016. We look forward to showing you some more photos then.

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244 Gilbert Street
Adelaide SA 5000

T +61 8 8212 2679
F +61 8 8212 3162


11 / 1-5 Martin Street
St Kilda VIC 3182

T +61 3 9510 0581


PO Box 10168
Adelaide BC SA 5000