Founded in Melbourne in 1918 by Otto Yuncken and Lauritz Hansen, Hansen Yuncken has grown steadily in stature as a respected builder of major construction projects.
The company has retained the tradition of quality and business integrity established by the founding partners, although the faces and methods have changed over the years.
The first stage of the Adelaide Casino project was worth $21m and was completed in 1985, just nine months from the commencement of preliminary sketch drawings. It involved the conversion of the ground and first floors of the existing Adelaide Railway Station building into gaming areas, and the second floor into administration, kitchen and restaurant facilities. The building was heritage listed and had to remain operational during the redevelopment process, with trains continuing to serve the basement level.
There were 900 workers on the job to speed construction, which was delivered under a fast-track design-and-construct method. The design team remained on site throughout the construction period and at stages were documenting what had already been constructed.
Project Manager Tony Swan said “Maintaining approval of the State Heritage Branch, cost control during the extremely fast-track building process, achieving the extremely high quality finished demanded by the interior design team and maintaining weather protection to the floors below with large sectors of the roof removed during the winter months were some of the challenges faced by our construction team”. Tony said the job’s success relied on “an excellent team who worked extremely well together and who delivered a fantastic facility on time”. Following this successful first stage, the company completed another two stages worth $13m in 1990 and 1993, and then undertook a further upgrade in 2001 for $4.2m. The building was later sold to Sky City, which commissioned Hansen Yuncken to carry out further extensions to the facility worth $14m in 2005. During the company’s 20 year association with the project many of the key South Australian staff have been involved at some point, including Tony Swan, Kevin Anderson, Lawrie Hall, Riley Pursche, Tom Criaris, Fred Arias and Chris Wells.
Located at 85 Spring Street, Melbourne
The $6.2m bicentennial project designed by Raffen Maron Architects houses a tropical rainforest in its natural climactic environment. It consists of a three-dimensional steel frame - 100m long, 47m wide and 27m high - supported on a dish-shaped raft foundation approximately two metres deep at the centre, to accommodate soil for tropical plants.
The erection of all 28 trusses, which carried 2092 glass panes and mechanical systems such as hydraulic spray pipes and hoisting apparatus to provide maintenance access, was achieved without a single breakage.
Within the structure, suspended walkways and viewing platforms allow visitors to look down into a natural setting more reminiscent of a tropical island than a garden in the southern state. The completed building project was praised as a tribute to the site manager John Lamb.
The project won the Sir Zelman Cowan national award for Public Architecture.