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.

palassis architects song school palassis architects song school palassis architects song school palassis architects song school palassis architects song school palassis architects song school palassis architects song school palassis architects song school palassis architects song school palassis architects song school palassis architects song school palassis architects song school



project info:


project name: cadagon song school

architecture firm: palassis architects 

location: perth, australia

program: school for st. george’s cathedral choir


    have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.

    comments policy
    LOG IN
    designboom's comment policy guidelines
    generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
    the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

    what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
    let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

    - please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
    - please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
    - please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
    - please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
    - please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
    (there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
    in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
    the best 100-200 entries too.)

    a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.


    a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

    architecture news