Heliostat in the sky garden


If you were in the Broadway area of Sydney in early February you would have seen a rare and spectacular sight. The 110-tonne steel frame of Jean Nouvel’s sky garden for the Central Park development was moved into place 100 metres above ground with the help of the largest capacity crane in the world called ‘tinker bell’.Tinker bell is usually used in the mining industry. This same frame supports Nouvel’s heliostat.

Jean Nouvel, 2009 Vienna

Jean Nouvel, 2009 Vienna

You may be familiar with heliostats, a number of static or moving mirrors that follow and reflect the rays of the sun (often to a targeted area) for solar energy and other purposes in the world of science. More commonly they are used for daylighting.

Australia’s first heliostat in a residential setting is being used to reflect daylight to targeted areas of the Central Park development. Helio (Greek for sun), is reflected from the platform above to the otherwise shaded gardens below by the mirrors on the underside of the deck. It’s a clever solution as well as architecturally impressive. It will be interesting to measure the effectiveness of it in practise.  It’s not that there is any doubt that the heliostat will work but could it become too hot in the summer? The proof is yet to come.

Frasers Property’s Mick Caddey and Watpack’s Ric Wang give an insight to the significance of the milestone the construction team achieved on Friday 1 February 2013.