Cathedral Square, Perth

Completion year 2016

Land Development


Key People

Prasanna Suraweera

Sustainability Section Manager, Australian Discipline Leader, Principal

Stephen King

Fire Section Manager, Australian Discipline Leader, Principal

Eric Le Meur

Structural Project Engineer, Principal

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WGE was involved in delivering five of the buildings that make up the Cathedral Square precinct, Perth’s newest public space. WGE was involved in transforming the historic State Buildings that served as town hall, post office, land-titles office, and treasury over the last 140 years. Before construction began in 2012, the buildings sat unused for nearly 20 years. WGE was also involved in refurbishing the State Administrative Tribunal building, building the new City of Perth Library, constructing the new office tower forming the David Malcolm Justice Centre and Church House.

State Buildings (Old Treasury Buildings, Land Titles Office)

The existing heritage building was refurbished into a new 5 Star hotel with basement, ground and four upper levels incorporating rooms, function spaces, meeting rooms, retail offerings, wellness centre, restaurants and bars. Now home to COMO The Treasury Hotel and a number of bars, restaurants and retailers, the previously unoccupied State Buildings has been successfully rejuvenated. 48 modern rooms are spread over the hotel’s four floors, with each one unique in size and appearance.

City of Perth Library & Public Plaza

This is the first major civic building to be built by the council since the Perth Concert Hall, which opened in 1973. The library showcases a range of features over five levels including an exhibition space, AV / multi-function rooms, a green wall, virtual resources, special book collections, an impressive master staircase, storytelling zones and digital resources. With a distinctive circular flow, full height void and oriented to maximise natural light, the library offers a restful public space for the community.

David Malcolm Justice Centre

The 33-storey Grade-A office tower development extends above the heritage State Buildings, offering approximately 30,196m2 of net lettable area. WGE provided a structural design to ensure the tower was adequately anchored within the heritage State Buildings complex at ground level. WGE also completed fit-out works for major tenants including the Department of the Attorney General on levels 19-31.

State Administrative Tribunal Building (565 Hay Street)

Undertaken as the first stage of the Cathedral Square precinct, this project involved refurbishment and extension of the former Public Trustees building at 565 Hay Street. The existing façade and building services were removed, with completely new internal building services and façade provided to enhance the building and allow for the construction of an additional floor level at the existing roof level.

Church House

The final project within Cathedral Square, Church House involved construction of a two-storey basement car park, ground floor lobby and café, plus six floors of A-grade commercial space featuring offices and meeting rooms.

Design challenges

Works at the Cathedral Square precinct were challenging from the outset with extremely constrained adjoining sites located within Perth’s busy CBD. Complex services interfaces further complicated the project.

  • Heritage considerations
    The site’s heritage constraints demanded innovative solutions from the WGE team as 95% of the heritage building was returned to its 19th-century origins. In particular, the sustainability approach for the façade of the State Buildings had to be considered in terms of the elements that were modifiable or not. This restricted the design options available to ensure energy and thermal efficiency of the façade. WGE was pivotal in overcoming these challenges through close liaison with the Heritage Architect, Palassis. The final solution for the façade included innovative custom made double glazed units consisting of composite timber and aluminium frames.
  • Structural solution for Mirvac tower
    A post-tensioned suspended slab system allowed large spans, which facilitated an open floor layout. The use of a post-tensioned system also enabled a reduced slab thickness, creating significant savings in reinforcement and concrete. Time savings were achieved by utilising jump-form for the construction of the core. The surrounding Heritage Buildings created challenging underpinning requirements, resolved using a combination of ground anchors and micro-fine injection grouting.
  • High performance without sacrificing architectural intent
    The stunning architectural design of the new library presented a number of challenges in designing high performance services for a round, multi-level building with a full height void.

Careful consideration and innovative design ensured that services such as air conditioning and fire suppression systems are hidden from view and offer comfort and safety without compromising the architectural intent.