PACT Construction’s reputation for building stunning boutique structures continues to resonate through Perth with the successful delivery of the Anglican Church’s Song School development.
The project was the brainchild of the Anglican Churchs’ Dean of Perth, John Shepherd, a passionate supporter of music and the arts. Recognising the internationally renowned choir of St George’s Cathedral was in dire need of a rehearsal room, yet lacking the funds to build it, Dr Shepherd revealed his vision to close friend and wealthy British aristocrat, Earl Cadogan, whose family’s real estate dynasty is worth an estimated $6.67 billion.
The project caught the imagination of Earl Cadogan, who generously decided to turn Dr Shepherd’s dream into reality. Now complete, the Song School is the final building constructed as part of Perth’s Cathedral Heritage Precinct, taking its place as one of Perth’s most important architectural features.
Delicately placed to the north of Burt Memorial Hall on St Georges Terrace within proximity of four existing buildings (three of which are heritage listed), the brief was unique – to design and construct a building that blends seamlessly with the surrounding architecture.
Fittingly, PACT had been conducting a rehearsal of its own, already working on the Church House project next door. This gave the team extensive local knowledge of the surrounding buildings and site conditions, placing PACT in the best possible position when confronted by the challenges that come with working in close proximity to heritage-listed buildings – of which there were many.
To prevent structural movement and damage to the surrounding buildings imposed by the structural loads of the new building, extremely delicate handling was required when carrying out the underpinning and grout injections under the Cathedral (1888), Burt Memorial Hall (1918) and the Deanery (1859).
Restoration works required careful planning and the use of specialist trades. Matching existing heritage bricks and mortar was a slow, selective process that required the construction of several prototypes and mortar mixes.
A qualified stonemason was also required to carve the existing Burt Memorial Hall stone to create a new entrance, with stone specially quarried to match the existing profile.
Meanwhile, demolition works required a slow and careful methodology including extensive hand excavation and removal works to limit vibration to the existing heritage listed buildings.