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 $35m extension to the existing terminal included a new concourse, seven gate lounges, luggage handling facilities, a Golden Wing Lounge and office space, to double the airline’s facilities in preparation for deregulation of the aviation industry. The job was a fast-track, fixed price construction contract, and it was completed in March 1992, ahead of the June 1992 completion deadline, despite redesign and documentation to major areas.
The $3.1m steel canopies that traverse the access road were constructed using structural steel components that were pre-finished and transported in the largest section available from a fabrication plant in Albury. They also incorporated special grade stainless steel from Korea and purpose designed roof sheeting.
Having rebuilt the theatre after a fire in 1945, Hansen Yuncken was again called upon in 1994 to carry out a $35m restoration and refurbishment of the 1920s "Picture Palace" theatre, Plaza Ballroom and associated areas.
The project faithfully recreated the historic establishment using old photographic records, following a 25 year period of disuse and neglect. It also called for the installation of sophisticated fire systems, electrical services, audio visual services, and mechanical airconditioning. Exacting coodination was needed behind the existing history wall and ceiling paces, and the stage had to be raised by several metres to allow for storage of stage scenery.
During the course of the project, the plans were altered to incorporate a new fly tower: a major structure that ran through the height of the building from the foundations to the roof. Its construction demanded the demolition of already completed backstage areas.
By far the most challenging aspect of this difficult project was the reproduction of the Plaza Ballroom below the theatre, which was totally gutted during the City Square development in the 1970s. Using original photos, craftsmen and specialist contractors employed traditional skills to recreate the moulded plaster, heritage lighting, painting and metalwork. It was a successful and important project for the restructured company at a time when Melbourne was recovering from a long recession.
In Adelaide in 1997, Hansen Yuncken was a member of a winning consortium for the development of the EDS building in which it was responsible for the design-and-construct contract. Hansen Yuncken had purchased the site on North Terrace prior to a government tender, taking a risk that paid off. This project helped advance the company’s image and significantly assisted in growing the company’s balance sheet. The company later built the Radisson Hotel on an adjoining portion of the land.
The EDS project was important in the resurgence of Hansen Yuncken, as well as the revival of the western end of the city of Adelaide. It was the first office building constructed in Adelaide for many years and provided a major catalyst for development after the recession of the 1990s and the South Australian Sate Bank disaster. Peter Kennedy said “The project may not have happened as the EDS lease with the South Australian government was signed by the then premier, Dean Brown, the day before he was deposed as leader”.
The state-of-the-art building comprised 11 storeys with efficient and flexible floor layouts, operations and building systems. It also provided a 95-space car park for tenants and public parking for the Radisson Hotel. Hansen Yuncken undertook a 15-year maintenance commitment which ensured careful consideration when selecting building materials, plant and equipment. The project was completed three months ahead of schedule in December 1998.