DMITRE Drill Core Library

DMITRE Drill Core Library

Project Location:
Tonsley, South Australia


Year of completion:

Project cost/budget:

AIA National Colorbond Award for Steel Architecture 2016
AIA SA Commercial Architecture Award 2016
AIA SA Colorbond Award for Steel Architecture 2016
AIB SA Professional Excellence Award 2016 for Commercial Construction $10M to $50M.

Project description:
The new State Drill Core Library Facility building represents a unique opportunity to consolidate and showcase an important state resource that is currently fragmented and invisible to the community. Housing a collection of drill core material that potentially maps the geological footprint of the State, the collection is an important resource for mining and exploration companies and the mining industry as a whole. The new facility seeks to make this collection even more accessible, while incorporating an industry hub to facilitate the dissemination of information and provide a focus for the mining industry in SA. The development consist of three main components being:

  • The drill core library
  • A support component consisting of administration, meeting/conference/education, and core viewing facilities
  • A logistics and processing area for deliveries and dispatch and core sample scanning via the ‘hylogger’

The Building has been designed to resemble a ‘Library’ with its collection, viewing, administration and ‘educational’ functions. As such the form reflects the importance of the collection by integrating the main functions into a single simple form that runs the length of the site. Articulation of the façade, the juxtaposition and gradation of materials from the front to the back of a long bold form draw their inspiration from the imagery of mining sites and geological formations, as well as the drill cores themselves that are fractured and change in colour and texture through the various strata of the rock they are drawn from . The logistics and deliveries/processing areas are represented as a secondary form, similarly long and uniform running in parallel like a vein of ore or mineral, but subservient to the more significant and important function of the adjacent library. The materials palette is deliberately raw, with corten panels (solid and perforated) gradually giving way to articulated precast panels that are rhythmic and are evocative of geological formations. Metal inserts in the precast panels further emphasise the ‘grain’ of geological form.

The front of the building which faces the main boulevard entry to the Tonsley site recognises the public domain and creates a ‘people friendly zone’ with visual connectivity to the interior at footpath level and the potential for further street activation via an adjoining exhibition space that can spill outside. External areas have been designed to complement and integrate with the urban design strategy for the site and enhance the pedestrian experience. The corten cladding consists of solid and perforated panels that significantly cantilever and overhang the buildings entries creating a sense of drama and is evocative of a mine shaft or quarry cutting. Perforated panels above are still heavy in appearance but allow filtered light to penetrate reception and exhibition spaces enhancing the experience for visitors.

The main storage facility forms the rear or southern portion of the building and makes up the biggest component of floor space. Logistics, deliveries and processing are located along the Western side of the core library proper and are directly adjacent the heavy vehicle loop as well as delivery zones to proposed for new developments across the road to the West. The design pays due regard to the Tonsley Urban Design Guidelines with building heights, form, massing and zoning in sync with guideline requirements.