Cantonment Hill Master Plan

The need for a Master Plan for Cantonment Hill comes after 10 years of lobbying by the local community to prevent the surplus site being sold for residential development. In 2010, the City of Fremantle purchased the site and the following year engaged CODA to prepare a Master Plan for the site alongside the Cantonment Hill Master Planning Working Group.

The project required extensive consultation with stakeholders; research and analysis of the heritage and other contextual data; the identification of opportunities and constraints within the site; recommendations to be made for its future development and care as well as suggestions for the heritage interpretation of the site; preparation of support material and the participation in a process of community consultation and feedback; and finally, the delivery of 3D modeling and a Master Plan report.

Cantonment Hill provides powerful visual entry marker into Fremantle but despite its position the land has lain desolate for many years. The site requires extensive upgrades and investment in order for it to become an inviting amenity for local residents and visitors to the City. Financial feasibility will significantly influence the final outcome.

Potential barriers such as the existing buildings and roads have been creatively incorporated into a plan for pedestrian and cycling routes that will ultimately link Cantonment Hill with central Fremantle.

The public realm within the site responds to nature, climate, regional identity, local character, and its potential visitors and residents in order to express a relevant and recognisable landscape vernacular. Spatial and social concepts of community and neighbourhood have all been addressed within the Master Plan.

Building for Diversity

In 2006, CODA won a national ideas competition that led to the provision of architectural services for a $10m mixed use building for Foundation Housing. The project responds to the client’s vision and supports the revitalisation of Northbridge set out by the East Perth Redevelopment Authority (now MRA).

44 hostel units, 16 key worker apartments, a caretaker apartment, 9 commercial tenancies and the restoration and conversion of a heritage warehouse to a cafe all sit on the 1190m2 site.

From the outset CODA looked to interrogate the brief and challenge the status quo. Our scheme challenged the site’s height restrictions, proposing a “small tower” building for the hostel accommodation with a lower building on the boundary of the site containing apartments and small commercial tenancies.

This configuration allows for a northern orientation to each habitable room whilst successfully addressing the need for cross ventilation. By increasing the height of the tower, the centre of the site was also freed to become a communal courtyard.

The project celebrates the richness of natural materials in combination with the whimsy of colour. CODA worked with four artists to fully integrate public artwork into the building fabric, making this a true building for the community.

MG/GT Administration Building

The MG/GT community facility and administration building in Kununurra is shared by the Miriuwung Gajerrong Corporation and the Gelganyem Trust, two traditional land owner groups in the eastern Kimberley. The two-level building is used by the staff of both organisations and by the community that they serve.

A requirement of the clients was to ensure that the building created a welcoming presence and was open both to the environment and community. We engaged in an extensive process of stakeholder engagement and invited elders from both communities to develop the schematic design and approve the final design, ensuring a truly inclusive and supported outcome.

An important first move was to place the offices upstairs, creating a shaded public space on the ground floor for people to gather informally or meet with the officers of the organisations. Upstairs the internal finishes have been selected with an eye to the desire for a less corporate space and to continue the dialogue of an inviting environment.

From the street, a ‘green screen’ constructed from vertically aligned painted steel angles provides cohesiveness to the two volumes of the building. During the day this screen creates a shaded, non air-conditioned space to be used for meetings outside of the offices; at night, the screen glows like a beacon providing a striking silhouette visible in the town.

The building’s materials and finish are necessarily tough. To enable the building to better cope with Kununurra’s climate, and the heavy user wear that it will receive, steel and fibre cement is used extensively as an external cladding. These robust materials are continually tempered by the use of colour throughout the project.

This project received an Architecture Award in the Commercial Category of the 2013 AIA Awards.

Women’s Health and Family Services

Women’s Health and Family Services is a not-for-profit organisation providing medical and clinical services, counseling, information, community talks and workshops, referral and outreach to women in Western Australia. WHFS was the first women’s health centre established in WA and has been providing health care to women for over thirty years.

After years of fundraising and bureaucratic hurdles, CODA were engaged as architects to realise a new facility on land seeded to the organisation by the East Perth Redevelopment Authority. The site provided many challenges from the outset: 2 Queen Anne cottages, a heritage warehouse and an electrical substation on a corner block of 887sqm. These restrictions demanded careful planning and a deep understanding of the range of services offered by the organisation to exploit overlaps and minimise the amount of underutilised spaces.

Externally the building uses a subdued palette of familiar and domestic materials. Alongside its existing heritage fabric, face brickwork, steel and recycled timber embue this building with a domestic, approachable quality. Colour is the critical binding element throughout the project interior. It works to unite 3 previously separate buildings and provides the diverse groups that it services with ease of movement throughout the building. The colour palette is light, bright and cheerful, particularly when combined with the warmth of the exposed natural materials. It is unlike an expected clinical environment of a medical and counseling centre, and instead is a space that presents as inclusive and uplifting.

In 2011, the project successfully achieved a 4 Star Green Star rating and in July 2012 it received a Commercial Architecture Award at the Australian Institute of Architecture Awards (WA Chapter).

Pam Buchanan Family Centre

This project was won through invited tender in October 2009 when CODA was selected by the Karratha K2020 panel to provide architectural services for a new family centre at Baynton West. The Pam Buchanan Family Centre was commissioned in response to the change in focus of mining companies and government towards the creation of permanent communities in mining towns of the North-West.

Built in a category D cyclone zone, the building responds to the dramatic shifts in weather conditions from intense heat to torrential rain and the very real possibility of cyclones. These extreme climatic conditions mean that people largely move around by car, rely heavily on air-conditioning and minimise daytime outdoor activity.

The various elements of the building are ringed via a continuous roof creating deep, covered outdoor play spaces and a sheltered interior courtyard. The courtyard is activated through the passage of pedestrians from one function to another. The material palette was selected based on environment, cyclonic rating and the capacity to be easily constructed on site and within budget. The Colorbond external skin of the building provides a dramatic backdrop for the feature cut outs and courtyard interior.

Colour brings light and surprise to the exterior of the building and works to build a lush constructed interior to the central courtyard.  From the street the painted roof cut outs whimsically signal points of entry and activity.  Within the protected courtyard space luscious greens cool and enliven, creating a complete visual break from the striking red pindan of the surrounding environment.

We believe the key move toward a sustainable environment is creating a building that will encourage families to live in Karratha. This project demonstrates that it is possible to enjoy life outside, away from air conditioning, through the creation of large, protected and ventilated outdoor spaces.  Within these spaces families play, talk and connect with their community.

The Pam Buchanan Family Centre received a commendation in the Public Architecture category of the 2012 AIA Awards (WA).

Fremantle Arts Centre Reception Area

The Fremantle Art Centre, City Of Fremantle (FAC) is located in the heritage listed Lunatic Asylum built in 1864. The departure of the Immigration Museum from the site freed up several spaces for the FAC and opened up opportunities to reimagine its visitor experience.

The original brief called for the design of a reception desk within a newly acquired room at the heart of the building. We saw opportunities to expand on this to review and explore the potentials for the space in the context of the whole institution. This small project mediates between the heritage fabric of the building, the port side history of the place and the contemporary art programme and classes, welcoming everyone to the centre.

Through a simple, elegant and cost effective set of moves we were able to reposition the way in which visitors first experience the FAC, touching the building fabric with only a few small fixings.

From the outset we sought to offer a contemporary interpretation of the surrounding portside environment.

As a tiny project on a tiny budget, we needed to embrace and elevate the way the simple palette of formply, plywood, steel and acrylic could work together as interior finishes.

The massive cylindrical form of the reception desk runs parallel to the length of the space, contrasting with the linearity of the existing envelope. The new display plinths have been fabricated from DD-grade ply and are set on moveable castors. The natural grain of the ply is reprinted on the plinths in a “larger than life” playful nod to the material. They have been developed with an interlocking system that allows the space to be refreshed and adapted according to the needs of the centre.

The subtle shifts in spatial use within a single room have been arranged through careful planning.  Through consultation with the client we extended the brief for a reception desk to include the relocation of the bookshop.  We felt that this simple move would assist in furnishing the space, making it feel inhabited and would also have the benefit of increasing book sales and revenue.

The desk, bookshelves and plinths have been fabricated from a robust palette of recyclable natural materials, again referencing the port city.  Most elements of the project require minimal fixing and are able to be removed without damage to the existing building fabric.

Contrasting this are highly coloured, glossy acrylic elements that act much like maritime signals and tie in with the recent re-branding of the FAC. These elements create a dynamic and changeable interior, acting as a backdrop to displays.

Great projects are only possible with great clients. We worked closely with the Director and Manager of the Centre to understand their needs and communicate our ideas.

The project was achieved within the $70,000 budget. Through careful selection of materials and simple fabrication methods we were able to exceed the client’s original desire for a desk and instead develop a scheme that addressed the entire space.

AIDS Memorial

Won through a national two-stage design competition in collaboration with Rodney Glick.

A sheltered space with a calm reflecting pond that allows individuals to contemplate the sky.

Bulgarra Community Centre

In October 2009, CODA was selected by the K2020 panel in Karratha to provide architectural services for the new Bulgarra Community Centre. This new community use building brings together the functions of a community hall and general-purpose meeting room with a playgroup and occasional care facilities.

Our proposal represented a new standard for community architecture both in Karratha, and the Pilbara as a whole. The scheme combines a comprehensive response to the brief and the unique climatic constraints of the region. The wrapping the building in a screen of perforated metal has created a striking iconic image grounded in practicality and innovation.

Most significantly, this project continues our commitment to regionally specific and climate sensitive architectural outcomes that will help to create memorable and beautiful spaces for the benefit of the community.