HAMILTON ISLAND YACHT CLUB

Peter M. Allen MIEAust, CPEng, RPEQ

Opus International Consultants Level 12, North Tower, 1-5 Railway Street, Chatswood NSW 2067 Peter.Allen@opus.com.au

ABSTRACT The iconic Hamilton Island Yacht Club and 35 Villas successfully withstood the Category 3 Cyclone Ului last March, less than eight months after its official opening. This paper describes the innovative, cost-effective structural solutions developed by Opus to address the variety of competing architectural, geotechnical, environmental and construction challenges presented at this remote Great Barrier Reef development. The Architect conceived a nautical-shaped Yacht Club with slim terraces cantilevering up to 12.0m over the seashore and petal-shaped roofs that cantilever up to 11.0m, supported on ‘tree-columns’. The Client’s desire to bring international recognition to Hamilton Island was surpassed.

Fig. 1: Rendered View of the Hamilton Island Yacht Club and Villas Introduction The Hamilton Island Yacht Club is the realisation of an incredible dream: a joint venture between Hamilton Island owners, the Oatley family, and famed yachtsman Iain Murray. They sought to create an internationally recognised facility using the stunning concepts of exceptional Architect, Walter Barda, who envisaged “an opportunity to go for the ‘big picture’ as a celebration of tropical, marine life and boat form, and the drama of yachts taking on the natural forces of wind and water”. In 2007, Opus International Consultants (Opus) took up the challenge to push the boundaries of structural engineering design for the dramatic sculptural forms of the Yacht Club and 35 Villas. These unique structures enhance their beautiful location at the entrance to the Hamilton Island boat harbour, with magnificent dual-water vistas

together with pile caps and other concrete elements of the Yacht Club exposed to seawater. a hard volcanic rock. This mattress of controlled modulus engineered fill enabled those Villas to be constructed with concrete Raft footings. Together with the Geotechnical Engineer. The hillside Villas were supported on 400mm diameter auger piles to bedrock. transportation (road and barge) and erection issues particular to this remote tropical island location. There are four Villa types. recreational and business facilities over three levels. each comprising four bedrooms over four or five split levels. Yacht Club Floors and Walls To simplify construction of the irregular-shaped footprint of the Yacht Club floors. A crescent shaped lagoon pool and abundant tropical landscaping complete the site’s outstanding spectacle.Peter M Allen over both the marina and Dent Passage of the Whitsundays. Walter Barda’s Revit computer model was invaluable in understanding the Architectural forms and consequently the development of the structural framework. with Walter Barda’s desire for streamlined nautical profiles. in part an old quarry. up to 20m below. including contemporary indoor/outdoor restaurants and bars. The Yacht Club and the four Villas over the weakest mud were founded via vibrodriven 12 to 22m long steel piles hammered into the underlying rock: 2500m (250 Tonnes) of 50 year-old recycled Dorman Long 24”x7½” RSJ’s were sourced from Adelaide.5m depth of the poor fill was removed and replaced by a Soil Raft.0m centres between columns spaced up to 10. The modelling would continue to play this vital role through to the end of construction. but generally covered by deep soil mixed with rock floaters. Structural Engineering Features The structural engineers had to balance the competing demands of designing the Yacht Club and Villas to withstand cyclonic winds and the aggressive seashore environment. The Yacht Club features an inspiring central atrium space. Architect and Contractor. 20km off the Queensland coast at the southern tip of the Great Barrier Reef. the structural engineers determined an orthogonal framework for a conventionally-formed concrete structure. without distress. The 35 luxurious Villas are nestled in two curled rows along the foreshore and hillside. theatre and function rooms and a private health club incorporating a marinafront gymnasium. comprising five 300 mm thick layers of quarry rock and clay mix on geofabric. which have since settled only a few millimetres as predicted. and construction phases to anticipate and resolve cost-effective solutions for construction. Spandrel beams were up to 900mm deep. conference. Opus worked closely with the Client. on marine mud over ignimbrite. including extreme cantilever terraces and roofs. Parkview Developments throughout the preliminary and detail design. A Cathodic Prevention system was installed during construction to provide permanent protection from corrosion of the steel piles. The rock rises to the hillside. Foundations for the Yacht Club and Villas There was a wide range of difficult ground conditions: The foreshore area was comprised of poorly compacted hydraulically-placed fill mixed with rubble. after floaters had been removed. some with plunge pools and basements. with slab bands spaced at up to 8. rather than piling to rock. which had been dredged from the harbour decades before. compacted to 98% SMD ±2%. The first level Hamilton Island Yacht Club Page 2 . a 25 metre undercover lap pool and private cellar dining room. the most appropriate solutions for each particular condition were determined. a ground improvement technique was adopted: 1.0m centres. For most of the foreshore Villas.

2). Hamilton Island Yacht Club Page 3 . cut and offset in plan to enable the two sides to be tilted at 3 degrees and 7 degrees respectively. seven and three pours were necessary for each floor. free-form terraces on the second level of the Yacht Club to cantilever up to 12 metres. 3). As the island’s batching plant could only produce a maximum of 200m 3 of concrete each day. whilst having them appear as slim as possible (Refer Fig.Peter M Allen was formed on ground. The timber cladding hides a Vshaped vierendeel truss-beam. utilising elegant counteracting ‘keel-shaped’ pedestals. stainless steel RHS columns support the long. The atrium’s presence is enhanced by the underside of its butterfly shaped-roof. whilst enhancing the nautical aesthetics of the building. For minimal size. and their satisfactory performance under crowd loading was validated during the official opening and at numerous subsequent functions. This met the stringent loading and exposure criteria. to design and detail the post-tension cables – 3 way tendons??. which also recreates the hull of a ship. designed under the central roof gutter to efficiently support these roofs over the span of 19. respectively. The Architect required the three. with reinforced 450mm thick bands and 200mm thick slabs designed suspended up to 8 metres between the steel piles. The faceted formwork of the cantilevers was built on temporary falsework. Finite element analysis was utilised for the design of the dramatic 3-storey high walls around the Yacht Club's central atrium. which was supported over the water on piers. The walls are surfaces of a cylinder. which incorporate cast-in downpipes. some of which were later utilised for the new marina boardwalk. The dynamic analysis of the vibration behaviour of the slender cantilevers indicated a minimum natural frequency of 3Hz. much over water. while also serving to anchor the perimeter roof structures against the extreme cyclonic winds (Refer Fig. Given these large cantilevers and long internal spans. The analysis permitted large openings in their 300mm thick reinforced concrete mass that facilitated the slender sculptural elements desired by the Architect.0m and transfer their loads to tapered circular columns at each end. Opus developed an internally post-tensioned in-situ concrete solution with both long and cross-sections tapering from 900mm to 200mm thick. 3D software was used by specialist sub-contractor. Freysinett. the second and third levels were post-tensioned. After considering a number of construction options. reinforced concrete terrace above the lap pool.

to rest on the CHS posts or 'branches. both static and dynamic. so they adopted a curved steel vierendeel grillage.0m long and shipped to the island. prior to being lifted to their final position for completion by in-situ welding and bolting. It allows the roofs to span up to 16. This design also achieved the Architect’s requirement to keep structural depth to a minimum between the copper roof cladding and the ceilings/eaves. The roof framing was designed so that it could be prefabricated as 2. 2: Yacht Club 12m cantilever terrace Yacht Club Roof Fig. Opus’ straightforward methodology for the detailing.' Based on the Hamilton Island Yacht Club Page 4 .Terrain Category 2. The Yacht Club’s central butterfly-shaped roof. confirmed that this steel framework is vertically stiff and extremely rigid horizontally (Refer Fig. 3: Yacht Club dramatic Atrium As the Yacht Club is located in Region C .4m wide 'ladder-trusses' up to 15. transportation and erection of the roof framework was fully adopted by the structural steel fabricator. The maximum nett pressures on the cantilever portions of the roof structures were calculated to be 6. This was simply resolved by incorporating additional straight 'rungs' in the ladder frames where necessary.4m centres each way. the engineers developed a consistent design that used the roof shapes to structural and construction advantage.0m and cantilever up to 11. Numerous wind conditions from several directions were modelled to assess the critical loading combinations on the different walls and roofs. Gay Constructions.3 kPa.Peter M Allen Fig. Whether the roofs are supported on 'tree-columns. Finiteelement analyses. A fire-engineered solution allowed all of the CHS steel tree-columns to remain fully exposed. with some members having intumescent paint applied to achieve required fire-rating.' or vertical posts.4 kPa up and 4. Their cross-section is generated from the surface of a cylinder.7 kPa down and the maximum local surface pressure ±6. four perimeter petal-shaped roofs and two external sails each cover an area up to 500m2. 4).0m from column centrelines. composed of RHS members at 2. 2). where they were further site-welded into larger roof segments on the ground. fabrication. enabling the roofs’ perimeters to be supported on slender steel ‘tree-columns’ (Refer Fig. they meet at a variety of dispositions and angles. the Basic Wind Velocity was determined for serviceability as 45 m/s and for strength as 70 m/s (252 kph) in accordance with AS 1170. while effectively transferring the lateral loads from the roofs to the central walls. largely 250mm deep x 150mm.1 Wind Loading Code. Not deterred by these apparently complex geometries.

Legend ‘Ladder Frames’ Additional ‘rungs’ ‘Tree Columns’ Fig. Villas Four basic Villa types were developed from a generic design. the super-elevated hillside Villas were laterally restrained by ground anchors and/or steel cross-bracing to withstand the severe wind loads. were supported on slender two-storey raking columns of structural steel CHS. 6). fatigue situation. curved plywood and waterproof membrane.5 m. Opus also developed a simple cast-in CHS detail to support the intermediate balconies and to facilitate the different construction sequences of some Villas (Refer Fig. Townsville. The southern 17. designed with cruciform tapers to highlight their finely-detailed pinned ends. which cantilever up to 2. the most costefficient methods on the difficult hillside terrain of the island were chosen: reinforced concrete blockwork for the Villas’ vertical and lateral load-resisting structural elements and a mixture of conventionally-formed beams and Bondek permanent steel formwork slabs for their initial super-elevated floors. In that Dynamic Test of the prototype roof cladding.3 kPa. with individual Villas being adapted as necessary to suit the various foundation conditions. Hamilton Island Yacht Club Page 5 . and is clamped to sloping curved reinforced concrete walls at its base. The complete structure was modelled using ETABS finite element software (Refer Fig. plywood and batten design was confirmed by Bluescope Lysaght undertaking Standard Cyclone Testing at James Cook University. Where their overall height rose between 5 and 7 stories above ground. 5). which underlay the copper sheeting. After consideration of precast concrete and steel-framed structures. hundreds of fluctuating loads were applied progressively as alternating positive and negative loads up to the ultimate pressure of ±6.Peter M Allen Architect’s Revit model. the careful shop-detailing of the roofs using TEKLA software resulted in no misalignments during construction of the steelwork.0m high. sail-like structure above the 'Bommie Restaurant' is framed from a steel grillage that was delivered to the island as three prefabrications. thus modelling the real. terrain and incorporation of basement and/or plunge pool options. The fixings. ‘Topspan’ steel battens at 450mm centres. 4: Yacht Club Steel Roof Framing The regular circular supports and straight lines of the roof surfaces generated by the above geometry facilitated the installation of light-gauge. The Villa balconies. to be bolted together on site similar to the other roofs of the Yacht Club.

utilising Cathodic Prevention and hot-dip galvanizing of steelwork. Furthermore. The Yacht Club and Villas successfully withstood wind gusts in excess of 200 kph with no structural damage. special mix and surface treatment to satisfy the aggressive marine environment. as vierendeel grillages . clean finishes and superior functionality. not only has its structural integrity been validated and its longevity assured. Hamilton Island Yacht Club Page 6 . the construction methodology ensured minimum environmental impact on Dent Passage and the boatharbour.similar in methodology to that of the Yacht Club’s steelwork. which was a testament to the building’s structural robustness that is fundamental to. Now that the astounding Hamilton Island Yacht Club has readily endured a severe cyclone. Already the Yacht Club is bringing international recognition. in March 2010. Conclusion The project was officially opened by the Premier of Queensland at the commencement of the annual Hamilton Island Yacht Race Week in August 2009. yet hidden within. Despite the 5 metre tidal range. Hamilton Island bore the full brunt of Category 3 Cyclone Ului. It will be the focus for future Hamilton Island Race Weeks and attract more yachtsmen and tourists from around the world to this tropical island paradise. reduced the length of piles required for the project by approximately 2000m (200 Tonnes) of structural steel. Ground improvement of the dredged fill. The heritage lighthouse at the point of the breakwater was retained and complements the development. Some commentators have claimed that it is Queensland’s rival to the Sydney Opera House. Less than eight months later. as described above. the piles were installed using a low noise vibratory rig and sourced from recycled steel sections. it’s beautiful nautical shapes. but its credit to Australian Engineering ingenuity is evident for the world to see. with its dramatic architectural forms. in accordance with the requirements of Whitsunday local authorities and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. with its classic lines being utilised as an emblem for Hamilton Island. while all exposed concrete has generous cover. which is a huge saving in resources and transportation costs.Peter M Allen The Villas' upper terrace façade framework and S-curved steel roofs were prefabricated on the mainland and completed on the island. Environmental and Heritage Features The Yacht Club building is designed for a 100 year life.

Adrian Esdaile and Michael Juda Structural Engineer: Opus International Consultants – Peter Allen and Luis Quispe Geotechnical Engineer: David Dickson Head Contractor: Parkview Developments – Gareth Hodgins Post-tension Sub-Contractor: Freysinett – Tim Copeman and Slobodan Selenovic Structural Steel Sub-Contractor: Gay Constructions – Brendon Pike Bluescope Steel – Keith Johnston Trend Magazine – February 2010 Edition Hamilton Island Yacht Club Page 7 . 5: ETABS Model of Hillside Villa ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Fig. 6: Hillside Villa Type D Client: Hamilton Island Enterprises c/.Peter M Allen Fig.Peter Schooley Architect: Walter Barda Design – Walter Barda.

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