Song School

Location

38a Saint Georges Terrace, Perth, WA

Value

$4.9 million

Architect

Palassis Architects

Project snapshot

Located to the north of Burt Memorial Hall on St Georges Terrace, The Song School project was the final building constructed as part of Perth’s Cathedral Heritage Precinct.

Situated within extremely limited space between four existing buildings (three of which are heritage-listed), The Song School project came with a unique brief – design and construct a building that blends seamlessly with the surrounding 140-year-old architecture. The result is a distinctive two-storey, partly subterranean concrete and glass design that reflects the existing Cathedral’s lancet windows all brought to life by PACT’s construction techniques.

We won the project through a competitive tender process.

Overcoming challenges

This project presented some very demanding challenges to PACT’s project delivery team:

  • A rigorous design resolution process was required to prepare for the underpinning of the existing Cathedral to support it during excavation works (and alleviate the risk of any structural damage).
  • The complex location of the building meant all pre-cast units had to be lifted approximately 60 metres from the truck into their final position. To comply with the aesthetics and design intent, the architect instructed us to ensure that all ‘lifters’ within the pre-cast concrete units should remain unseen once finally erected. As a result, our delivery team designed and engineered an alternative means of lifting the pre-cast panels into position to ensure all lifters remained concealed.
  • Local pre-cast concrete suppliers were unable to supply the curved and arched panels in line with the architectural design. PACT scoured the country in search of pre-cast concrete suppliers, eventually identifying the ideal company in South Australia.

Despite the many obstacles, PACT was able to overcome all challenges successfully. Concurrently working on the completion of the Church House project next door, our knowledge of the surrounding buildings, site conditions and use of existing resources gave the team an outstanding understanding of how to best deliver the project effectively.

Highlights

Standout features of the Song School project include the off form precast white concrete arched panels, extensive use of ornate glass and feature timber lining, cladding and joinery.

Features of development

Features of Song School include:

  • White reinforced precast concrete façade fabricated in South Australia
  • Spiral staircase constructed insitu from white concrete (matching the precast elements)
  • Stone paving to match the surrounding buildings
  • Glass balustrading to the upper plaza level

Restoration works were required at the Burt Memorial Hall and St George’s Cathedral. This included brick replacement and mortar re-pointing plus matching and carving existing Burt Memorial Hall stone.

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