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In buildings, On buildings, Hawa Variotec

Reinvigorating an icon: 25 Martin Place Sydney

In 1978, renowned architect Harry Seidler designed the iconic MLC Centre. Since then, the building has become a mainstay in the Sydney skyline. 

The contemporary precinct now known as 25 Martin Place – located on the corner of Castlereagh Street and Martin Place – underwent a transformation in 2019 via a project involving Hawa Sliding Solutions, Häfele, and Empire Facades. However, COVID-19 threatened the project shortly after it began, with unforeseen obstacles including restricted travel, disrupted supply chains, and an on-site workforce forced to work remotely. Despite this, Hawa, Häfele and Empire Facades pushed on to ensure that smooth delivery took place amidst the pandemic.

Providing architects with the freedom to design
Hawa systems had been used as part of the original MLC Centre in 1978 and have been operating flawlessly since. So fifty years later, when the time came for a transformation, it was a natural decision to use what had already withstood the test of time.  

That which made this project different was the desire to push the boundaries – working with architects to prioritize their designs and having the suitable systems to support the architects' vision. As a result, the final design was a building characterized by pronounced curves that skirted the towering structure. It required a system that allowed glass panels to follow the curved segments while balancing form and functionality – a challenge which Hawa embraced and delivered on.

Pushing the boundaries of industry
Successfully delivering this was something that could only be achieved by means of close collaboration between Hawa Sliding Solutions, Häfele, and Empire Facades. "At no stage did Hawa or Häfele say they couldn't do it", says Clinton Norris, National Business Development Manager for Häfele Australia. And despite the circumstantial challenges brought about by the pandemic, Mark Micallef, National Brand Manager AU/NZ, refers to a particular "entrepreneurial spirit" that kept them pushing through. 
Hawa's strong network of trusted partners enabled implementation at each stage. With the collaboration between teams across states and continents, many panels from the initial construction of 25 Martin Place were not only refreshed but enhanced. It showed off the architects' skill and Hawa's product capabilities, all while retaining the essence of Seidler's original work.

Making it work
Fulfilling Australia's safety standards required stringent testing and weatherproofing to ensure stability and durability and that the facade would withstand Sydney's weather. This challenge required additional testing above and beyond Hawa's strict testing regimes. In collaboration with its project partners, Hawa Sliding Solutions conducted additional testing and proved the capability of its systems for use on this iconic project and its ability to maintain its class-leading operation for many years to come.

"The testing exceeded the project requirements – something we knew from many years of installing this product in different conditions worldwide," says Mark Micallef. With the seamless team collaboration, the product exceeded the requirements comfortably in the end. Overall, Hawa's engineering process, capability to customize the design and technical requirements and its close collaboration with partners helped bring the project to fruition.

In-depth knowledge of the subject matter in the Hawa Variotec sliding walls series and the application of this to the project also contributed to its success.

Product range
In buildings, On buildings
Product family
Hawa Variotec
25 Martin Place, Sydney
Harry Seidler
Empire Facades