Curtin Law School

Completion year 2015

Hydraulics, Mechanical, Structural



Key People

Grant Thornton

Structural Project Engineer, Principal

Ralf Boepple

Hydraulics Section Manager, Principal

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This project involved fitting out the two-storey heritage building at 57 Murray Street in Perth for Curtin University’s new Law School. Constructed in 1912, the building housed the Public Health and Medical Department and underwent major conservation and adaptive re-use works in 2013 for The National Trust of Australia (WA). WGE were engaged to provide services without impacting the building’s heritage features including original ceilings, Donnybrook stone façade and terracotta tiles imported from France.

Works included:

Upgrade of air-conditioning and introducing outside air to a level that meets Australian Standards. An alternative solution was provided which meant no external grilles were required on the façade.

Project challenges

  • The introduction of outside air particularly to the ground floor rooms as new penetrations could not be made in the façade
  • Providing AC without detracting from building features or damaging them during install
  • Ensuring roof cowls added for the introduction of outside air matched existing heritage cowls.

Project highlights:

  • Heat exchangers were installed instead of replacing air conditioning units. This returned a cost saving of 50% on the mechanical upgrade budget and avoided the need to pull the ceiling down.
  • Provision of new egress stair from level one to bring emergency egress up to current Australian Standards whilst minimising the physical interaction into the existing building.
  • Providing support to a new suspended acoustic ceiling whilst minimising the fixings through the decorative plaster ceiling and maintaining the visual effect.
  • Decorative plaster vents were boxed out in clear box rather than sealed up. This solution reduced potential impact on the architectural intent as the vents were required to be sealed to ensure adequate outside air flow.
  • Carbon filters were installed to allow the outside air rate to be reduced so that no new penetrations were required.