Old Perth Boys School : Heritage made sustainable

14 Jul 2017

"“We’ve managed to create a space to be enjoyed not only by Curtin staff and students, but the greater Perth community. The project has secured another heritage icon for Perth.”"


Wood & Grieve Sustainability Section Manager, Principal

How do you take a 4 Star Green Star building to 6 Stars while conserving its unique heritage value?

This was the challenge posed to the project team responsible for the Old Perth Boys School, now known as Curtin St Georges Terrace, tenanted by Curtin University in partnership with The National Trust of WA.

In early 2015, Curtin University entered a lease agreement with The National Trust of Western Australia to create an internal fit-out that respects and sustains the building’s unique mid-19th Century architecture whilst reflecting its contemporary use.

Curtin University Vice-Chancellor Professor Deborah Terry sees the Green Star rating as a significant achievement for Curtin St Georges Terrace.

 “The University is continually striving to be a leader in sustainability, working with leading sustainability consultants and other stakeholders including architects, services engineers and builders to establish a best practice level of building performance,” Professor Terry said.

Wood & Grieve Engineers’ Sustainability Section Manager, Principal, Prasanna Suraweera says the opportunities far outweighed the challenges of design and construction, “we focused on balancing new initiatives around heritage value.”

It was important to the University that the Old Perth Boys’ School preserved and further developed its commitment to ongoing performance, sustainable procurement and end of life performance.

The single-storey, high ceiling limestone building followed an innovative design solution to accommodate a flexible range of event and meeting facilities for contemporary use.

The outcome?

Curtin St Georges Terrace has become Curtin’s hub within the CBD, offering increased opportunities for engagement with industry, alumni and the broader community.

The stunning space features a large exhibition room for hosting events suitable for up to 100 people including lectures, sit-down dinners, cocktail events, workshops and exhibitions. It also features a boardroom for up to 14 people and a mezzanine office space for Curtin staff.

Breathing life into the 1854 Perth landmark is something to be celebrated in itself. “The project has secured another heritage icon for Perth,” Suraweera said.

Energy efficiency has been drastically increased.  Efficiencies include reductions in total GHG emissions by 55%, energy lighting energy by 80%, air conditioning by 65% and water consumption by 35%. Additionally, materials with whole of life low environmental impact and low formaldehyde engineered timber were selected.  All of the above have been achieved whilst not only retaining but also showcasing the Heritage features dating back to 1854.