Melbourne, Australia, 2019

Vertical cable barrier

Melbourne Conservatorium of Music

The Ian Potter Southbank Centre is the new home of the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music. A multi-storey atrium provides light and openess throughout the building, while Jakob cables provide security.

The project was undertaken by Tensile, Jakob’s partner in Australia. The idea of the atrium was to have an open design that promotes connection within the community of the conservatorium. Spanning three storeys, it provides natural light and better air circulation.

For the atrium, a strong and secure barrier was needed. Yet, it should not achieve the aim of safety for the sake of clear sight. Tensile chose to use a solution with vertical cables that run across all three levels. To integrate better into the design, the cables with 5 mm cables were painted black.

‘Designing and installing the barrier was not without its challenges. The atrium at the centre is not uniform, but changes shape at different points, which means the cables move and splay between levels,’ explains Tensile director Peter Bottero. In contrast to glass, cables have the necessary flexibility to adapt to shape variations.

The final result provides a vertical fall stop prevention that is almost invisible and a design element in its own right. At the same time, it meets the relevant security norms and is not climbable.

Jakob products

Stainless steel cables, 5 mm, dyed black

Photos by Tensile and Trevor Mein