australian studio palassis architects completes the ‘cadagon song school’ in the western coastal city of perth. situated in the city’s historical treasury and cathedral precinct, the project was commissioned to provide facilities for the st. george’s cathedral choir. the 200 square meter song school was designed as a contemporary translation of the architectural language of the surrounding heritage buildings. the intervention is formalized as a serial array of sculptural vaulted arches beneath a central ‘tuning fork’ spire — an expression of traditional religious architectural motifs. the scale and form of the vaulting eases the visual transition between the old and new.

palassis architects song school
all images courtesy of palassis architects

 

 

in the development of the intervention, palassis architects introduced a dialogue with the historic context through the use of materiality and color. the crisp whiteness of the song school offers a visual continuation of the neighboring stark white ‘deanery.’ meanwhile, the verticality of the repeating pointed arches reflect those of the brick ‘burt memorial hall’ to the other side. to preserve site lines, the majority of the song school is subterranean and sits within the foundations of burt hall and the cathedral. this portion of the building consists of a main hall, music library and locker facilities. the song school entrance — through the lower plaza level of burt hall — offers a visual distinction from the preexisting building while allowing in significant natural light.

palassis architects song school

 

 

internally, the vaulted hall formally references the classical underground ‘crypt’ typology typically found in the depths of cathedrals. this continuing the spirit and understanding of context from within. the space was designed to ‘acoustically match’ the existing chancel within st. george’s cathedral. solid oak floors and custom milled acoustic wall paneling clad the majority of the hall. the vaulted ceilings — comprised of curved concrete beams and perforated brass panels — house all air conditioning, lighting and fire services above – to successfully meet technical acoustic requirements.

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project info:

 

project name: cadagon song school

architecture firm: palassis architects 

location: perth, australia

program: school for st. george’s cathedral choir

 

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