Glebe House

Structural Designer

Partridge Structural Pty Ltd

Client Name



Sydney, Australia

Images: © Murray Fredericks


The key engineering challenge in this Sydney building lay in how to achieve the architect’s desire for a pure checkerboard in-situ concrete façade, with concrete rectangles just touching at their corners without overlap. This provides no apparent scope for structural continuity in either the vertical or horizontal directions. Furthermore, the loads from the first floor needed to be transferred through this arrangement to the ground floor. The engineers overcame their initial structural scepticism in order to fulfil the architect’s dream by some structural sleight of hand.  By careful detailing requiring the use of 3D visualisation the engineers created just enough overlap within the building between the concrete panels to arrive at an ingenious solution to achieve the design intent.

Judge's comment:

At first sight this is a structural impossibility, but on closer inspection it is clear that the engineers have cleverly achieved the architect's vision by careful 3D modelling and attention to detail to enable the structural façade to work without overlapping the concrete panels. It is an ingenious solution to an otherwise impossible challenge.

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