A Melbourne sustainable icon: The Power Street Habitat Filter

Melbourne’s Domain and Burnley exits were given a breath of fresh air with the sleepy little patch of land, yet now houses a new urban landmark.

A $20,000 public design competition by Citylink precipitated the multi-functional sculpture, aptly titled Habitat Filter. Centred on the Power Street loop, the winning art piece showcases several key features which also include the reintroduction of native flora and fauna as well as sustainable practices during and post construction.

Regenerating the landscape, the protruding pillars have solar panels that feed power back into the grid and water storage tanks to collect rainwater. The green energy and water harvesting components enable it to be self-reliant, and along with its artificial wildlife habitat, will contribute as a part of the city’s lungs – providing clean oxygen and filtering out the metropolitan air.

The architects – Matt Drysdale, Matt Myers and Tim Dow, kept a small wildlife habitat in mind when they developed the design. Native animals can either nest or treat the habitat as a resting point as they traverse across the urban jungle. With time passing by, Habitat Filter will continuously evolve and grow, becoming more complex, and essentially an important environment to local critters, birds, even bees and other insects.

The Right Ingredients for the Job

For the Habitat Filter to grow into its full potential, it needed materials that can meet its more demanding requirements. The Power Street loop was identified as a C3 environment (city, industrial or coastal with moderate sulphur dioxide & salt exposure), which means a degree of acidity is present in its environment. Along with contact to wildlife, the Habitat Filter must be made sturdy and reliable.

For this endeavour, AAF applied our patented powder coating to support the structure and enhance its aesthetics. The processes used is critical to ensure durability, to withstand corrosion against the elements and avoid flaking, peeling and blistering through contact with plants and animals.

Major Manufacturing

At an average of 600 x 300mm per panel, roughly 8,000 aluminium panels were powder coated at the AAF Dandenong site in Victoria. The Pure Powder Flow application system purifies the entire powder application zone so that the end product is smooth, even and flawless.

Custom Colours

The Habit Filter was to join Melbourne’s line up of iconic artful landmarks and is undoubtedly a unique piece of architecture. It carries a beautiful range of colours, with shades between green, yellow, blue, and orange. To meet the super durable finishing and dynamic colour standards, we prepared D2015 Made to Order colours from Akzo Nobel Interpon, with a focus on greens, purples, yellow, orange and blues specifically for this project.

Sustainably Savvy

Besides wanting the coating colours to be attractive, it was important to both the project and AAF as a company that we did away with any ecological damage and minimised our carbon footprint. The processes, applications and materials were all selected to ensure that they produce minimal product waste, low emissions and contain no volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) or toxic heavy metals.

Our powder coatings are solvent free, recycling friendly, and have been recognised as an environmentally sustainable option.

A Meaningful Engineering Endeavour

The project was officially completed at the end of 2016 and has since performed beyond expectations. The sleepy little patch of land has been fully revegetated with the indigenous species and has been populated with various manner of insects and critters. Flocks of migratory birds have also been reported throughout the year.

Local communities have used the projects as case studies to promote the importance of biodiversity within cities. It’s an example of what can be done to help offset carbon footprints and positively impact animal life.

The Power Street Habitat Filter project was an excellent pursuit for AAF. It gave us the opportunity to continue spotlighting the quality of our powder coating and on our commitment to environmentally sustainable business practices.

Project Overview

Architects: Matt Drysdale, Matt Myers & Tim Dow
Fabricator: Steel Vision
Builders: 2Construct
Product: Akzo Nobel Interpon D2015 MTO
Plant: AAF Dandenong Victoria
Status: Completed in December 2016