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The art of the engineer: Take a step inside the revitalised Sydney Modern

The art of the engineer: Take a step inside the revitalised Sydney Modern

Minimalism and elegance were the goals of the engineers responsible for taking World War II–era infrastructure and transforming it into a 21st-century exhibition space.

At Sydney’s Domain, in a cavern deep beneath the ground, great gnarled masses loom out of the black, illuminated by slowly shifting spotlights before winking back into the void.

The forms resist attempts at categorisation; from one angle they look like machinery, as if dinosaurs had been rebirthed as metal and mechanics. But from other angles, they seem eerily organic, like alien life had begun to metastasise in the gloom.

The setting is a disused fuel bunker: built in the 1940s to serve ships fighting in the Pacific Theatre of World War II, decommissioned 50 years later, and today home — at least temporarily — to the strange monuments that form Argentine-Peruvian artist Adrián Villar Rojas’s exhibit The End of Imagination.

AA Gal

Emergency floodwater treatment yields PFAS solution

A water treatment innovation designed for a flood clean-up effort could be the answer for removing forever chemicals before they permeate the environment.

In February 2022, the Northern Rivers town of Lismore was decimated by the biggest flood the region had ever encountered.

Unprecedented rainfall and floods in excess of the one-in-100 average recurrence interval (ARI) had a significant impact on civil infrastructure, explained local engineer James Foster, Director of environmental consultancy ENV Solutions.

“A lot of Lismore’s infrastructure was designed on that one-in-100 year flood,” he said. “All of those designs were inundated by 1.82 m of water.”

This included all of the city’s electrical systems along with businesses that had set up flood-free zones. The water levels were so high that even houses built above the ARI were still impacted.


This software helps engineers open a toolbox for mass timber

An award-winning Australian structural engineer is educating peers about the sustainability benefits of using mass timber in construction with new structural design software.

Engineers tend to follow the path of least resistance, according to structural engineer Adam Jones. Bringing a new technology or process into the mainstream, therefore, first requires making that path easier for engineers to follow.

That’s the guiding philosophy behind Jones’s efforts to promote and educate engineers about sustainable building materials such as mass timber.


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