Translucent polycarbonate roofing and façades take the spotlight at a historical Australia studio.

Posted in Construction & Architecture
Translucent polycarbonate roofing and façades take the spotlight at a historical Australia studio.
By Tamir Horesh

Featherston House near Melbourne, Australia, has been influential in Australian architectural design since the 1960’s. It is a family based studio in which 2 generations have lived and worked. It was designed as part of a larger heritage building for Mary and Grant Featherston, who lived and worked in the compound for over 50 years. The adventurous Featherston House, designed as a single open space with a translucent roof and very few internal walls, was an Avant-garde experiment at the time. It is located in a forested area and modern touches were needed to maximize light and thermal performance. The studio segment brings a new take on the architect’s original design, complete with an open-space layout and a strong connection to the outdoor surroundings with a translucent polycarbonate wall and ceiling.

A polycarbonate standing seam panel system was specified by Two Feathers as the design team was looking for a product that can be fabricated and made practical with the very challenging building elements. They trialed and pushed aesthetics, structure lighting and climate control to the limit while working on challenging geometry.

The thermal properties of the polycarbonate sheets and the quality of light transmission, along with soft, diffused light with very little glare, were very strong arguments towards using the polycarbonate ceiling, and the polycarbonate cladding system.

The thermal envelope of the building was created with two layers of 18mm SUNPAL®, a polycarbonate standing seam cladding system. The designed edge and support system performed well, and SUNPAL® was installed using internal supports, providing excellent thermal insulation, ambient, diffused, natural light, and a water-tight solution.

An invert installation of the standing seam panel system was implemented with the aluminum C joiners, and with an additional internal layer of SUNPAL®.

The polycarbonate façade details included an external layer installed inside out, creating a flush façade appearance towards the outside. A 54mm aluminum vertical joiner made it easy to attach the sheet to the internal wall.

The polycarbonate wall cladding system was also reverse installed using the polycarbonate joiner to create a flush appearance towards the interior. The usage of the polycarbonate joiners eliminates the opaque vertical marks that would have appeared had aluminum joiners been used.

To meet site access requirements, the installation was planned to enable delivery of long panels to the site in small batches by crane lifts. Polycarbonate pallets had to be lifted over the building, close to precious architectural objects on the property’s boundary.

  • Architects: Two Feathers
  • Location: Melbourne, Australia
  • Lead Designer: Julian Featherston
  • Design Team: Vicky Tu, Mary Featherston, Julian Featherston
  • Floor Area: 120.0 m²
  • SUNPAL Area: 260 m²
  • Project Year: 2018

SUNPAL® Multiwall polycarbonate sheet architectural system: Learn more about it