Making a splash

The new Action Stations immersive experience was completed in June 2015 to mark the centenary of World War I...

Visitors to the brand new Action Stations experience at the Australian National Maritime Museum (ANMM) are sure to be impressed by the wonderful architectural space, which uses Insulated Panels’ from the Benchmark by Kingspan range to create a uniquely striking, warm welcome to the building. The scheme, envisioned by the highly talented team at fjmtstudio, one of only seven architectural practices to receive the prestigious World Building of the Year Award, has already helped to boost visitor numbers at the attraction. Kingspan Magazine finds out more about this landmark project.

A building for high-tech drama

Located in an extension to the Warships Pavilion at the Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney’s Darling Harbour, the new Action Stations immersive experience was completed in June 2015 to mark the centenary of World War I. As a significant development project for the Museum, the design of the building was critical. It had to be architecturally beautiful while functioning super-efficiently at maximising the high-tech experience of the danger and drama of Navy life for visitors.

Clear vision for the enhancing the waterfront

The team at the ANMM had a clear vision for the Action Stations project. “We wanted to strike a balance between making a strong architectural statement that complements our existing buildings and the city beyond while not over - powering the vessels that are currently exhibited adjacent to, and within the Pavilion. We also wanted to provide a warm welcome and to create a sense of drama and anticipation for visitors approaching this lively part of the waterfront. Above all, I guess it was about setting a new benchmark in the way that we deliver an unforgettable experience for our visitors who come here wanting to celebrate the past, present and future stories of the men, women and ships of the Royal Australia Navy.”

Form and function make great design

Development of the Pavilion’s structural design created an opportunity for transparency on both sides of the building, enabling glimpses of the vessels through the building where possible and maintaining a connection to the outdoor displays through the ships’ silhouettes. The form was inspired by the techniques and geometrical rigour of boat building while the conceptual approach closely referenced the wake of a boat as it passes though water. Benchmark by Kingspan’s Evolution panels were the perfect solution to generate the external and internal geometry as one; a smooth, sleek, contemporary finish with built-in premium functionality offering exceptional durability plus lifetime insulation continuity, thermal performance and airtight certainty.

Design+Build Detail

fjmtstudio’s scheme required 891m2 of wall panels slim enough to maximise the internal space for visitor comfort while main - taining thermal resistance values. The pavilion façade had to be generated as a series of complex geometrical rotations of 1m wide panels sized to maintain the efficient use of Kingspan’s standard widths. The biggest challenge was creating these complex façade geometries while maintaining a watertight external skin at the joint intervals. Inclusion of a glass oculus, comprising 1m wide panels of glass, added to the complex design challenge. The harbour location also meant that the exterior had to be fully weatherproof in order to maintain its characteristic colour and finish.

Delivering excellence

All of these challenges were met seamlessly with the fjmtstudio team working in close partnership with the technical team at Kingspan. James Perry, Senior Associate at fjmtstudio said: “Each Benchmark by Kingspan panel was manufactured locally to our detailed specification. The premium panels are fantastic to work with; fast and efficient installation meant we kept costs down, minimised waste and we were ready to hand the building over to the Museum team ahead of schedule. The extended thermal, structural and paint coating warranties that come as part of Kingspan’s offer were one of the key elements in our decision to use the Evolution range and were an important consideration for the ANMM team.” “We’re absolutely delighted with the new Action Stations building. Working with the delivery teams has been a revelation – I feel I know so much more now about these amazing modern materials that can, quite literally, turn an architect’s visions to reality. And I know when I see the look on our visitors’ faces as they approach this part of the Museum that we’ve truly achieved our own vision. A very exciting experience awaits all our future visitors.”


We’ve ended up with something that I am immensely proud of. fjmtstudio took our vision and translated into something even more spectacular than we could have imagined. Adding in the cleverness of modern building materials – in the form of Kingspan’s Evolution panels – and we have created an incredible building that will be here for generations.
Bianca Wong, Sustainability Manager at Kingspan

Bianca played a critical role in the delivery of the scheme. Understanding the architectural intent, she worked with the project teams to optimise the benefits of Kingspan’s insulated panel technology thus achieving the desired aesthetic and performance outcomes.