The Blue Mountains Cultural Centre

Completion year 2012


Sports, Culture & the Arts


Key People

Joseph Walsh

Mechanical Project Engineer, Principal

Prasanna Suraweera

Sustainability Section Manager, Australian Discipline Leader, Principal

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The Blue Mountains Cultural Centre is a new complex with a major supermarket, regional library, art gallery with a workshop, interpretive centre, administrative office space and car parking. This project has been a joint development by Coles, the Blue Mountains Council and the State Government.

Vertically, there are two levels of below ground car park, then a retail level at approximately ground level. Separately, and above this, is the cultural centre level.

The internal spaces sit below a series of gently curving steel roofs with no false ceiling space. Hence the main foyer, library, gallery, and other spaces are supplied via wall mounted jet nozzles and twist nozzles. These were height limited, yet had to achieve satisfactory throws without undue drafts or noise.

The air handling plant for these systems is located in a series of small mezzanine plantrooms (each no larger than 100m2) above the served spaces. Each plantroom has an outside air intake “chimney” and an exhaust/relief air “chimney”. Air cooled chillers and boilers with associated pumps are located on a roof platform along the less visible side of the building. Large dehumidifiers are located in the air handling plantrooms to serve critical areas needing humidity control, such as the gallery and interpretive centre.

The retail level has a major Coles supermarket and a few retail tenancies all on a single level with street access or travelator car park access. The supermarket has no ceiling, with suspended light fittings and exposed circular supply ductwork.

At the time of construction Coles were developing an integrated plant concept for refrigeration (cold cases) and air conditioning for their stores. This was documented by WGE and incorporated into the project as a variation to the tendered design, in conjunction with other operational efficiency measures. These included the supply of dehumidified warm air at floor level under the cold cabinets, for improved shopper comfort (warmth), reduction of condensation on the cabinet glass (dehumidification), and better efficiency from the cold cabinet refrigeration. This warm air is supplied via well-insulated ducts in the car park below, rising through the retail slab under the cabinets. The use of outside air in the retail design is also minimised to save energy.