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SA Power Networks Angaston Depot

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A purpose-built depot of the future, acting as a catalyst project for a new industrial precinct in Angaston

Constructed on a greenfield site, the new facility replaced an ageing depot in Nuriootpa and has become a key hub for neighbouring depots and a place of refuge in disaster situations for the local community

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Given that SAPN have a series of depots situated across the state, S9 collaborated closely with them to formulate a depot design template.

This approach to designing from first principles allowed SAPN to understand their spatial requirements up front, then purchasing a site to suit, rather than the other way around, which is the traditional approach to most industrial land developments.

An in-depth analysis of company operations, staff workflows, depot case studies and company surveys were critical steps in helping to understand how the new facility could cater for the demands of such a critical piece of utilities infrastructure for the local community and the state as a whole.

Undertaking an extensive site master planning exercise, various operational layouts were quickly tested across the yard, the buildings, and its surroundings and interrogated to understand how each arrangement best accommodated various site constraints such as gradient, inclement weather, stormwater catchment, native vegetation requirements and solar orientation. The layouts were then workshopped comprehensively with the key stakeholders before progressing any further with the design.

Past experience from other depot developments also helped to inform innovative ways to unlock the most efficient layout possible. The 12,000sqm site comprises of two separate building across a built form footprint of 1,355sqm — accommodating administration offices, warehouse and logistics offices, undercover truck parking, wash-down bay, a workshop and associated amenities. The site also includes an outdoor BBQ area and vegetable garden for staff use.

The internal workplace configuration needed to be able to quickly adapt to instant increases in personnel as staff from other sites congregate at the new depot in response to an emergency. Flexible furniture solutions that were modular and transportable were selected to cater for this shift in operation, while movable screening devices and operable walls also allowed greater flexibility where required.

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The key design move in splitting up the buildings derived from the initial layout analysis, allowing SAPN to control each building’s future growth requirements separately. We were then able to treat the external appearance of each building differently — with a design led approach to the office building verses a functional, pragmatic approach to the storage and truck shed. This hierarchy gives visitors an understanding of the internal functions of the buildings and helps to act as an element of wayfinding instantly understandable from the street.

A vertical façade of Spotted Gum timber fins was introduced along the key street-facing elevation. Designed to age gracefully and to silver-off over time, the timber facade was chosen to reflect the surrounding context of the native gum trees and vineyards. With the fins rotated subtly at 45 degrees, the angled screen and shadows cast from the rotated fins mirrors the pattern seen in the SAPN logo. Finer grained detailing in the cleated connections further reinforces the brand geometries.

Utilising cost-effective methods of construction, modulated structural systems, single span floor plates and a suite of pre-finished, robust materials and claddings all added to creating a functional, adaptable family of buildings that addressed the Client's brief and exceeded their expectations.

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“The team at S9 have been a pleasure to work with over the last 10 years and we continue to develop a strong and collaborative working relationship. Value, vision, flexibility and listening to and developing an understanding of customer needs have been the key elements instrumental to the success of their projects delivered to date, with the new Angaston Operational Works Depot as the culminating show piece.

A significant amount of research, stakeholder engagement and lessons learned from previous projects has ensured that the outcome of this new depot is maximising the operational efficiency of the site, has a sustainable and low energy footprint and a location that the employees are proud of and want to work from. The overall design and visual amenity of the site is one that compliments the surrounding environment and is drawing positive feedback from the local community and visitors to the Barossa region.

All of these reasons and the added advantage of great Project Management capability has given SA Power Networks a great deal of confidence that on time, on budget and great design outcomes can be achieved in these challenging times.”

Tim McCullough

Property and Facilities Manager, SA Power Networks

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In addition to the re-use of rainwater and the use of solar panels, ongoing collaboration with a consultant team of engineers unlocked the opportunity for a wetland in a portion of the site immediately adjacent the main entry.

The vegetated wetland acts as a key focal point upon entry but more importantly addresses the site’s surface stormwater management and has a positive impact on local flora and fauna. The outcome is a key demonstration of SAPN’s commitment to sustainability.

The key design moves in this project were simple, but significant — demonstrating how good design should add value faster than it adds costs

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