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Striking orange Plaspanel cladding punctuates the Discovery Centre's facade
Detail of the striking orange Plaspanel cladding
Underbelly of the orange Plaspanel cladding

Orange Plaspanel® underbelly shines above the wetlands below.

July 5th, 2012

The recently completed discovery centre at the Edithvale-Seaford Wetlands is full of surprises; with none more eye-catching, than the vivid orange underbelly of the building. Clad in durable Plaspanel®, the material on the building’s underside serves two purposes, of decoration and protection from the surrounding wetlands.

The waterproof properties of Plaspanel® make it ideal for use in moist environments. “You can put Plaspanel® in direct contact with the ground and it won’t rot and it won’t swell like other flat sheet products,” Gordon Long, Manager of Builda Panels says. “We supplied 6mm fire-retardant orange Plaspanel® for this project – which can be ordered by request.”

The Edithvale-Seaford Wetlands, a remnant of the once extensive and ecologically rich Carrum Carrum swamp is internationally recognised as an important habitat for a variety of migrating birds and other wildlife. The centre was built to meet strict environmental and sustainability standards. Specifying products like Plaspanel® comes as no surprise – it’s recycled and recyclable, is coloured all the way through so requires no painting plus it’s rustproof and chemical, bacteria and mould resistant.

Building in a sensitive environment such as this, waste can be a real issue. But Plaspanel® is a fantastic example of closed loop recycling. Manufactured from recycled high-density polyethylene (HDPE), Plaspanel® itself can also be recycled. All waste or leftover product can simply be separated from other materials and sent for recycling – further reducing waste going to landfill.

Other sustainable elements of the building include water tanks, composting toilets, solar panels, double glazing, motion controlled lighting, high levels of insulation and the use of thermal mass. All this has allowed building operations to approach carbon neutral and has provided the building with an equivalent of 6 Green Stars.

The interior of the centre houses an interpretive gallery and offers views of the wetlands through panoramic windows. Plus a few surprises in the floor, where round peep-hole windows are cut through the orange Plaspanel® underbelly providing sneaky views to the wetland birdlife below.

Plaspanel® can be cut, routed, drilled, welded and mechanically fixed with standard tools making the installation of features such as round windows quick and easy. Each panel is a standard 2440 mm x 1220 mm and is available in a range of thicknesses from 9 mm to 32 mm. Not surprisingly, panels can be easily fitted using a top-hat fixing with expansion joints between panels providing a contemporary, graphic appearance.