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John Curtin College of the Arts Year 7 Teaching Facility


Project Type / Category
End Client
Department of Finance (Building Management and Works)
JCY Architects and Urban Designers
EMCO Building
Project Value
Project Location
90 Ellen Street, FREMANTLE WA 6160
Project Completion
September 2014
Value Engineering Solution
  • Avoidance of limestone excavation by use of landscaping.
  • Innovative use of precast and insitu concrete to create “floating stair” effect.
  • Utilisation of 8m structural grid and feature concrete beams to allow large cantilevers within a simple structure.
Unique Design Items
  • Interlocking precast concrete seats used to replace retaining.
  • Dramatic façade including folded aluminium artwork elements.
  • “Floating” concrete stairs effect.
  • 2016 Australian Institute of Architects (AIA) (WA Chapter) Educational Architecture Commendation (Awarded to JCY Architects and Urban Designers)
  • 2016 Australian Steel Association Steel Excellence Awards, Winner - Buildings Category in Steel Clad Structures (Awarded to Pritchard Francis and JCY Architects and Urban Designers)

Located in Fremantle, the John Curtin College of the Arts Year 7 block was part of the transition program to move Year 7 public school students to secondary schools.

The key feature for this project is the dramatic folded aluminium façade. Whilst the artwork appears complex, it was rationalized for buildability by creating a number of standard façade modules and making one single plane of structure for connecting the façade. The efficient steel support structure is seamlessly integrated with the artwork, creating a dramatic statement when viewing the school from the West.

The building is based on a simple 8m structural grid to avoid transfer slabs, providing an efficient structural steel solution achieving the extremely modest project budget. The dramatic “floating” stair effect at each end of the building was created using innovative use of typical precast and insitu concrete, delivering a high quality aesthetic without compromising the project budget.

Although the east of the site included a level change of 4m, retaining walls were eliminated by creating interlocked precast concrete seating which also provided an interesting landscaped area. This was especially important in avoiding the removal of large quantities of limestone throughout the site.