Completion year 2016
Dating back to 1922, Fremantle’s historic wool store building played a significant role in the port’s history. Converted into ‘Fort Knox’ storage, it stood empty for a period before this project arose to transform the property into 183 apartments. Original heritage features were retained, including the saw-tooth roof, century old jarrah beams, exposed brick, grand windows and 3.6m high ceilings, resulting in a contemporary aesthetic that honours the building’s history.
WGE’s structural, civil and fire engineers were consulted on the significant structural alterations as part of the architectural adaptive re-use works. Working with limited existing information, investigations were undertaken to assess the strength and durability of the structure prior to the construction commencement. The heritage building required both strengthening and remediation to meet current seismic codes and to address its shortcomings, but also to bolster the robustness of the design to accommodate major changes to the building geometry.
The existing ground floor was lowered to increase parking head-height, plus a new suspended level was inserted between timber floors to double the parking capacity, with vehicle access ramps. Transfer structures were also introduced to enable the removal of load-bearing timber columns.
Our engineers worked closely with the builder to address the structural elements to protect and retain the heritage fabric, without delaying progress on the development. The structural team adopted a flexible, co-operative approach in formulating design solutions to suit conditions when these varied from expected.
The outcome is a truly unique apartment development in the heart of Fremantle, that features all the hallmarks of an iconic industrial building whilst offering the best of contemporary living.
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