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Goodchap Medical Centre


Goodchap Medical Centre

For many of us, memories of doctor surgery or medical centre visits conjure up images of bland, sterile environments that are about as welcoming as a trip to the headmaster’s office during high school.

Fortunately this has began to change in recent times, with many of these high traffic community hubs undergoing aesthetic transformations that have seen them evolve into warm and welcoming environments. And, let’s face it; isn’t that exactly what you want when feeling unwell?

Goodchap Medical Centre in Noosaville, Queensland, is a perfect example of this new stock of medical facilities. Apart from modern, fully outfitted treatment rooms, a major design feature of the establishment is its interior back-lit translucent stone feature wall that sits proudly in the foyer.

This one-off creation required a unique hardware solution to keep the stone segments in place. But the owners, architects and engineers wanted more than functional fixtures to do the job, they also wanted hardware that wouldn’t detract from the overall stunning appeal of the stone panels. They approached Brisbane-based Australian manufacturers NFK to create the stainless steel fittings– custom designed and manufactured to the architects’ and engineers’ requirements.

“NFK is traditionally known for our high quality stainless steel hardware for glass. This stone wall wasn’t too different than glass but we were able to create unique fittings using our manufacturing facility in Brisbane,”said NFK Managing Director, Hayden Kemp. “We’re more than happy to make small run products for architects who often want the hardware to be part of the feature, part of the design.

“Most people think you need a huge quantity to get something custom built, but it’s not so. We’re able to do short run product manufacture for one-off projects, like this one.”

Hayden explained that the stone panels were extremely fragile so the design and machining tolerances on these fittings were critical. The stainless steel surfaces have been CNC milled to create very square edges and the sharp crisp lines on the chamfered face plate.

“We also provided 3D models of the products in the design stage and solid 3D samples prior to production. For this and other special projects, we can also undertake full engineering on products through a NATA-approved independent testing authority.

Director of the Structures Group for Tod Consulting Engineers, Chris Dowding, said: “This type of wall is not a common feature and it really creates an interesting space for visitors.

“The NFK products were specified by the building contractor (Field Constructions) in consultation with the project architect (Middap Ditchfield) and ourselves. The products were used to achieve the look that our client (Noosaville Medical and Professional Centre P/L) and the project architect were after.

“A lot of the structural engineering work that we do at Tod Consulting requires a strong architectural flavour,so we do take a lot of care to consider the finished appearance in our designs,” Chris said.

“It was important to us that the fixings did not flex or bend, to protect the stone from being damaged. The use of NFK products to hold the large stone elements in place was quite innovative, because this style of fitting is normally used to support the exterior glass cladding of multi-storey buildings. The strength of the NFK products was more than adequate, because, as you can imagine, they are subject to significant wind loads in their normal multi-storey application,” said Chris.

Hayden agrees, adding: “Chris is right. We used the concept of a typical glass fitting – with all its strengths and architectural appeal - and adapted it substantially to work with the stone.

Norm Oliver, medical centre owner, said he was delighted with the result and was extremely happy with the way the project came together.

“The stone wall is a great feature and sets this medical centre apart from any other,” he said. “The stone panels and stainless steel hardware work perfectly together to create a visually stunning ‘welcome’ to visitors of the centre.

 

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