The Michie building is an 8 level concrete and brick structure with a sandstone facade, typical of the style of buildings comprising the Great Court precinct of the University’s St Lucia campus. Originally constructed in the early 1970’s the building houses social sciences departments, as well as research students and anthropology and antiquities museums.
Significantly, the ground floor of the building housed the University campus PABX and an electrical substation supplying several other buildings in the vicinity. Apart from an internal refit to the third level of the building around 10 years ago, the building remained largely untouched, apart from several services upgrades over the decades. Total existing building area was approximately 10,000m2.
The Michie refurbishment project sought to completely strip out and refit all floors of the building, as well as an extension over 3 levels on the western elevation which would provide an additional 1500m2 of floor space, and include a striking anodized aluminum facade supported by tensile stainless steel rods.
Key to the delivery of the project was that the PABX needed to continue operation without interruption throughout the duration of the works as the equipment and infrastructure was critical to the operation of communication services campus wide and also several external stakeholders. A new electrical substation was to be constructed, however power needed to be maintained during construction to all external buildings.
As the building housed a priceless collection of anthropological artifacts which could not be removed from the building, a construction methodology needed to be developed which could enable the security and protection of these artifacts within the building, whilst demolition and construction took place, and the subsequent refit of the final storage and display area for the artifacts.