The Yardmaster Building

Location Melbourne, VIC, Australia
Services Sustainable design
Sector Industrial and Infrastructure
Client VicTrack
Architect McBride Charles Ryan

Caimin McCabe

T +61 (0)3 9635 3700

The four storey Yardmasters Building is a multi-use facility for the various workers and operations associated with the Southern Cross Rail Yard. It required extensive consultation with representatives of the diverse users, their respective union representatives, and management and associated authorities. The ultimate solution adopted a simple flexible shell with rational system of glazing integrated with the repeated external pattern allowed each room to have good and interesting views to outside.

Cundall in its role as sustainable design consultant aided the architect overcome the required and desired high performance façade within the highly complex issue of constructing within a rail environment. This was achieved by introducing the use of a ‘Thermomass’ exterior. ‘Thermomass’ consists of two layers of modified concrete with Styrofoam insulation sandwiched in between. The use of ‘Thermomass’ addressed a range of issues including:

  • The buildings construction as it could be manufactured off-site and then delivered for tilt up construction
  • High energy efficiency from its inherent thermal performance and significant time lag of >12 hours for solar or thermal heat absorbed to pass through the overall structure as well as negation of thermal bridging
  • Very level of durability, impact resistance protection and importantly reduced maintenance

In addition to meeting the inherent multi-functional requirements of its users the building provides a visual interest and delight to the rail experience that says that public infrastructure matters and, by extension, that the public matter.  The building has also taken on its own colloquial names, being referred to as both the 'Southern Crustacean' as well as ‘Moody’ as it offers different visual interest with the ever changing Melbourne weather.

  • Australian Institute of Architects Victorian Chapter Annual Awards (2010), Award for Public Architecture
  • Architizer, A+ Jury Award, 2013 Award for Transportation: Bus and Train Stations


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Established in the UK 40 years ago, Cundall has developed into an international multi-disciplinary consultancy operating from over 20 locations across the globe.