Australia is one of the world’s most highly urbanised countries, with around 9 million of the country’s 24 million people living in two cities – Melbourne and Sydney. And the urbanisation is going to continue in the coming years, according to experts. This rapid urbanisation poses challenges for city planners: metros, railways and industrial applications cause vibrations that effect people as well as buildings. Austrian specialist Getzner Werkstoffe minimises this structure-borne noise, benefiting people and their surroundings with some innovative solutions.
Sydney has more than 5 million inhabitants, and if Melbourne keeps growing at the current pace, it will reach 5 million by 2020. Experts calculate that, if the urbanisation trend stays the same, by 2050 Melbourne will have 9 million inhabitants, and Sydney 8.5 million. Both cities are expected to add roughly 1 million people per decade. And they are not alone: If Brisbane and Perth continue their growth, by 2050 both cities will be about the size that Melbourne and Sydney are now.
This urbanisation causes immense challenges for Australia’s urban planners as well as for the country’s infrastructure and housing.
“Dense urban areas, with transportation, industry, offices, residential areas and public space next to each other, pose a challenge in the field of vibration isolation, as well," says Thomas Dorfner, Regional Sales Director Asia Pacific at Getzner Werkstoffe. “Professional vibration isolation benefits not only the people living and working in the area. It also reduces life-cycle and maintenance costs of the capital investments.”
To reduce vibrations in urban areas, Getzner developed high-tech materials like Sylodyn, Sylomer and Sylodamp, that can be modified to meet specific requirements. In Australia and New Zealand, the innovative Getzner solutions reduce noise and vibrations in multiple city centres.
New York, Munich, London: international experience
Getzner has realised countless successful international projects in urban centres in recent years: In New York’s Upper West Side, the Austrian vibration isolation experts realised a particularly exciting project: The Rushmore Building in Manhattan is a two-tower high-rise complex that was constructed directly above an AMTRAK railway tunnel, consisting of two railway lines carrying 25-ton axle loads and a planned future metro line. Due to the proximity to the railway line, rail-generated vibrations were a major concern. “Getzner’s solution was to elastically decouple the individual floors of the 41-story building. A very sophisticated solution, in which two stories were completely decoupled in terms of vibrations," explains Dorfner.
Not very far from the Rushmore Building is another luxury condominium - The Touraine. It is a fifteen-story residential building containing 22 exclusive residences. The location in the historic Upper East Side neighbourhood of Manhattan, immediately adjacent to the Lexington Avenue subway lines 4, 5 and 6 with more than 1.000 daily trains, is as exclusive as it is worrisome in terms of noise and vibrations. Using Sylodyn material from Getzner, the construction project managers subsequently developed an innovative and comprehensive bedding for the condominium building which offered protection from vibrations. Specifically, elastic foundation and wall supports made from the high-tech polyurethane were used to good effect under the foundation of the building and on the surfaces of the foundation walls.
Another highly interesting example is the construction of new housing right next to a busy urban railway line in Munich’s Arnulfpark development. The Central & Park project in the southern part of Arnulfpark combines two flanking apartment blocks with commercial premises in between. The tracks of the railway network run right next to the site, with trains passing by roughly every 90 seconds. Getzner installed water-resistant full-surface bearings for buildings. To achieve optimum vibration isolation, the side walls were also elastically decoupled from the surrounding area. The efficiency of the solution was tested and confirmed by external experts.
In London, Getzner was responsible to isolate vibrations on a very busy 2.5km long section of the London Underground in the city centre. Sylodyn sleeper pads protect the track superstructure and reduce the level of vibrations caused by the railway traffic. The Getzner experts faced similar urban challenges in Berlin, where the Hampton by Hilton at Alexander Square is located next to busy tram lines and above a planned metro line. Thanks to the bedding of the building on Sylodyn mats, structure-borne noise could successfully be reduced.
Caption: The Rushmore Building in Manhattan: The Getzner experts elastically decoupled the individual floors of the 41-story building to minimise rail-generated vibrations.
Main image: Elastic shielding of buildings: Getzner’s high-tech vibration isolation solutions benefit not only the people living and working in the area, but also reduce life-cycle and maintenance costs.