Ferguson Architects, based in West Perth, Australia, is a mid-sized practice which has a wide array of projects in their portfolio. The team of nine is led by Directors Gus Ferguson and John McLean. Founded in 1964, initial projects were primarily private residences and group housing. Soon they advanced into various institutional projects and urban design. Now, they cater to designing for specialized facilities like the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and attractions and animal structures, various specialized laboratory buildings, pharmaceutical, and research centers, Medicinal cannabis facilities, health, and aged care, etc.

1. INDIAN OCEAN MARINE RESEARCH CENTRE, CRAWLEY, AUSTRALIA

Indian Ocean Marine Research Centre is situated at the edge of the Indian Ocean (in Crawley, Western Australia), bringing over 300 marine scientists across various disciplines. Practicality and Building Performance were given utmost priority, right from the start of building design. The various site constraints, including the relatively small area that was available, and the functional specifications, primarily the requirement for ground floor access to many of the facilities resulted in a five-level structure which housed various laboratories and offices.

Taking advantage of the long east-west axis, and considering various climate responsive design strategies, sun-shading solutions were designed that would minimize sun penetration into the building. A timber ceiling design was fabricated that would complement the high functional demands of the building while providing for the visual design feature element necessary in the various spaces. The usage of limestone-colored precast concrete wall panels and aluminum colored curtain walling systems maintains a visual design continuity set by earlier buildings on the campus.

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2. INDIAN OCEAN MARINE RESEARCH CENTRE, CRAWLEY, AUSTRALIA – INTERIORS

The Indian Ocean Marine Research Centre functionally places the offices and laboratory areas on the upper floors, with the centrifuge center and other secondary spaces on the ground floor.

The various colors and textures of the ocean have inspired the interiors of the Crawley Building, with shades of blues and green forming the basic color palette. The finned timber ceiling which complements the high functional demands of the building echoes the wave patterns. Furniture selection throughout the building is from the same family with a deliberate mix of colors that mimics the patterns of the sea.

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3. ST MARY’S ANGLICAN GIRLS’ SCHOOL – LIBRARY

The Elizabeth Myles Library, named in honor of the St. Mary’s Headmistress from 1944 – 1956, is situated in the central area of the school campus, in Perth, Australia. Accommodating a collection of over 25,000 books, magazines, and journals, it is a busy hub of learning activity with the provision of study areas with various seating arrangements. An open area for bookshelves, general reading/study, and flexible teaching spaces, provide for the majority of the functional requirements.

The elevated library is linked by various walkways to other buildings on campus, allowing for open vistas on the ground to the sports fields. Contextual to the existing buildings on campus the Library is constructed in concrete, chestnut face brick, and tiled roof. The incorporation of a stained glass window from the old library provides a visual reminder of the history and traditions of the school.

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4. DEPARTMENT OF PARKS AND WILDLIFE HEADQUARTERS BUNBURY

The proposed DPaW headquarters in Bunbury is designed addressing the various constraints of being located in an environmentally sensitive site. The foreshore of Koombana Bay to the north and the mangrove park to the immediate south provides various design opportunities. Additionally, another layer of design opportunities stem from the various shipwreck sites, surveyed and preserved underground, found on the site, given the fact it is located over the original coastline.

The use of aluminum roof and thermally modified timber soffits along with specialist corrosion protection treatment for all steelwork are just a few of the measures taken to ensure low maintenance and long life of the materials specified.

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5. DEPARTMENT OF PARKS AND WILDLIFE – BIODIVERSITY SCIENCE CENTRE

The Biodiversity Research Centre accommodating the Western Australian Herbarium, research facilities for the Flora Conservation group and the Threatened Flora Seed Centre, and various shared facilities of the DPAW enables and facilitates scientific research to enhance the protection of Western Australia’s natural terrestrial environment.

The three-storeyed building is spatially conceived as two wings enveloping a central atrium with a vaulted ceiling. This provides for a source of enriching natural light to the surrounding offices and workrooms. West Australian Marri is used for the construction of the atrium floor. The curved steps of the flooring is an example of the subtle design decisions that invoke the resemblance of the surrounding landscape.

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6. MALCOLM STREET APARTMENTS

The proposed design for the thirteen-level residential development containing an apartment complex and the partial retention of the heritage-listed Edith Cowan House retains the principal aspects of the restoration of the House. Perpetuating the historic use of the house by the Cowan family, the building will house a library and various reading and meeting areas.

The design locates the house at the center, ensuring it as the focal point of the development and main entrance, while the apartment building is to the south. The surrounding landscape provides for city and river views, and views of the Parliament House and gardens, from the 22 apartments.

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7. THE UNIVERSITY OF WESTERN AUSTRALIA – STUDENT CENTRAL

Creating a separate centrally located student services precinct that would amalgamate the offices of both the International Centre Research Services and Student Administration offices was the aim of this project.

The new Student Central provides one unified, enhanced service to students by connecting the three buildings through a glazed link.

To encourage informal interactions and promote networking, the precinct includes a hub with display space, student-use computer terminals, and various special-purpose rooms like counseling and teaching rooms, etc. Two courtyards function as additional spill-out spaces.

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8. THE UNIVERSITY OF WESTERN AUSTRALIA – ALVA STUDIO

The refurbishment of an existing Music / Drama building on the Nedlands Campus at The University of Western Australia established the ALVA studio.

The studio accommodates various teaching spaces and meeting rooms that function in teaching mode during normal school hours. This space can transform into an open gallery to exhibit semester displays or presentations. Taking this into consideration, the interiors are treated neutrally which will visually let the drawings and exhibits take center stage. The exposed structural beams, highlighted with blue, exudes a sense of vibrancy into space.

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9. ST MARY’S ANGLICAN GIRLS’ SCHOOL – PERFORMING ARTS CENTRE

The Performing Arts Centre is designed as an expression of youth, a place that stimulates creativity and promotes interaction. A single level, air-conditioned 515 seat auditorium with a large stage that can accommodate a variety of music and drama performances, equipped with state of the art theatre technology, primarily constitutes the Centre. A large music studio, drama space, various provisions for staff, rehearsal, and dressing facilitates the backstage area.

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Simple finishes combining the texture of bagged brickwork, smooth painted concrete, and timber veneer contrasted with a palette of accent colors furnish the interior design language.

10. THE UNIVERSITY OF WESTERN AUSTRALIA – CENTRAL TEACHING FACILITIES UPGRADE

A learning-centered approach to education prompted the refurbishment of 35 lecture theatres and teaching facilities across UWA. This upgrade facilitated a flexible arrangement of furniture, integration of technology-rich spaces, and brightly colored acoustic treatment in each room.

Several lecture rooms were modified into flexible teaching spaces that would encourage discussion and participation. Classrooms were designed with the idea of their reconfiguration and adaptation for use with multiple teaching objectives.

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11. NILAI COLLEGE, MALAYSIA

A private tertiary education facility, nestled within the hill formations and seasonal watercourses across a 42-hectare site, was designed to accommodate 6000 students in Bandar Baru Nilai, Malaysia.

A 3-hectare platform was created by reducing a hill to accommodate the academic core. The orientation of the core was determined by taking maximum advantage of the spectacular views of the site. The hub of the campus is the five-level Resource Centre which houses the specialized teaching facilities. Residential wings were located around the perimeter of the amphitheater.

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12. THE UNIVERSITY OF WESTERN AUSTRALIA – BARRY J MARSHALL LIBRARY

The Barry J Marshall Library Building is an extension of the existing three-level Biological Sciences Library at UWA. A user-focused, service-rich environment, combining new and emerging information technology with traditional knowledge resources, supports various patterns of learning, teaching, and research.

Progressively stepped floors of the library ensure that each level is protected by the level above eliminating the need for additional window screens. Providing visual contextual continuity the building is constructed with the same limestone colored concrete walls and pitched terracotta tiled roof as the original building.

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13. EDITH COWAN UNIVERSITY – COMPUTING ENGINEERING TECHNOLOGY BUILDING

The Computing Engineering Technology Building on the Joondalup campus of Edith Cowan University houses the Schools of Engineering and Technology, Computer and Information Sciences, and the Electron Science Research Institute.

Double height spaces on the ground floor accommodate the heavy engineering laboratories and a Motor Sports facility for ease of servicing and acoustic isolation. The upper floors accommodate lighter engineering, teaching and computing laboratories, and other support facilities and staff offices.

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14. EMMANUEL CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY COLLEGE – STAGE 1

The Junior School Campus provides an Early Education Centre, Year 1 & 2 classrooms, and support functions including staff offices, toilet facilities, and storage areas.

The school is located on a steep slope which accounts for its bold and angular form. Large pop-up windows facing south, maximize the penetration of natural light into the classrooms. Semi-outdoor teaching spaces are incorporated within each classroom by the maneuver of glazed bi-fold doors.

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15. THE UNIVERSITY OF WESTERN AUSTRALIA – BAYLISS BUILDING

The Bayliss Building serves the Departments of Biochemistry and Chemistry, incorporating various teaching and research laboratories at the University of Western Australia.

Providing an interactive, open, and transparent architecture in contrast to the introspective spaces too often found in science buildings was a major design decision. This facilitated the functional zoning of the central atrium being flanked by offices and teaching facilities while major laboratories were located in the north and south wings. The central atrium prompts informal communication and enhances student-staff interaction.

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Naomi Mathew
Author

An architect from Kerala, who best expresses her feelings through doodles and words, Naomi is still in a self-discovering journey, be it through music, traveling, or volunteering. Her positive attitude towards life motivates her to make the world a better place to live in, one step at a time.

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