Boola Katitjin | Lyons with Silver Thomas Hanley, The Fulcrum Agency and Officer Woods Architects

Boola Katitjin | Lyons with Silver Thomas Hanley, Officer Woods, The Fulcrum Agency and Aspect Studios | Photographer: Lyons

2023 National Architecture Awards Program

Boola Katitjin | Lyons with Silver Thomas Hanley, The Fulcrum Agency and Officer Woods Architects

Traditional Land Owners
Whadjuk and Binjareb Noongar people

Western Australia

Brian Kidd Enabling Architecture Prize (WA)
Educational Architecture
Interior Architecture
Sustainable Architecture
Urban Design
Multiplex Constructions
Project summary

Boola Katitjin is a major new teaching and learning building for Murdoch University, designed by Lyons in collaboration with Perth-based practices Silver Thomas Hanley, Officer Woods Architects, and The Fulcrum Agency.

The project dramatically transforms the campus by radically reorienting the campus front door from the north to the south, creating a primary new universal access link to the centre of the campus; and accommodates large scale collaborative teaching learning spaces that support the University’s educational long-term needs.

These aspirations are achieved through an extraordinary 180m long low-rise building constructed out of mass timber, creating a unique ‘warehouse for learning’. The building reinterprets and amplifies the architectural language of the campus, one of linear colonnades with deep shade, use of exposed timbers, and spaces connected to extraordinary bush landscapes.

Through these strategies the overall design creates an innovative new campus and student experience.

National Architecture Awards Accolades
National Award for Sustainable Architecture
The Daryl Jackson Award for Educational Architecture
Western Australia Architecture Awards Accolades
Award for Educational Architecture
The George Temple Poole Award (WA)
The Wallace Greenham Award for Sustainable Architecture (WA)
Western Australia Jury Citation

This collaboration of Lyons Architects, Silver Thomas Hanley, Fulcrum Agency, Officer Woods Architects and Aspect Studio to create a new academic building for Murdoch University, has resulted in an exciting and innovative outcome.

This project is transforming the Murdoch University Campus by creating a new primary universal access linking the new southern public transport arrival areas off Discovery Way through Boola Katitjin to the ‘spiritual heart’ of the campus (the Bush Court). The vertical system of lifts, stairs and escalators overcomes a 13m natural level change and provides a full range of highly equitable access options both into the building or along circulation layers and timber colonnades within its western façade. These layers provide sun, rain and wind protection and take and direct students and visitors to the heart of the campus.

The rich variety and sequence of large formal and informal learning and teaching spaces, some containing commissioned work by indigenous artists, is supported by the outside spaces of Banksia court and the two large arrival plazas, one to the south adjacent to Discovery Way and one to the north of Boola Katitjin. This northern space has 4 external timber structural bays supporting the extended roof which creates a weather protected threshold and large space for university events such as student markets, open days, and Graduation.

The sustainability credentials of this project are significant including the highly innovative use of structural timber, reducing the embodied carbon within the building by 55%. Added to this the integration of mixed mode ventilation strategies throughout, the gable roof cloaked in a 450kW array of PV solar cells, which when combined with the many other low energy systems greatly reduce the overall operational energy consumed. Many further sustainability initiatives assist in targeting independent GBCA certification for 6-star Greenstar v1.3 as built. A project specific Climate Change Adaptation Plan was also undertaken. The building servicing strategy ensures that the building can be fully electrified and operate with 100% renewables. The Lyons team are also undertaking the careful enhancement of the adjacent Banksia Court as part of this project including the expansion of Banksia Court by 3,300 sqm of predominately native planting.

Lyons and their creative team have with skill ensured that Boola Katitjin is more than a repository of knowledge, it champions sustainability, it’s a building that facilitates collaboration, a stimulating place of learning, teaching, and discovery, for students, teachers, staff, and visitors.

Boola Katitjin demonstrates a leadership level of sustainability while enhancing the existing character and adding to the evolving future character of the Murdoch Campus.

Boola Katitjin will greatly enhance the student experience by providing both formal and informal collaborative learning, teaching and social gathering spaces that have previously been in short supply on campus.

The unique timber structure is also transformative both externally and internally. Our brief was to create a building that respected and expanded the character of the current campus with its bush courtyards and colonnades.

The Lyons team have excelled in meeting this brief. They have truly created an extraordinarily innovative concept that will stand the test of time and will meet all of our aspirations and needs over coming years.

Project Practice Team

Lyons with Silver Thomas Hanley, The Fulcrum Agency and Officer Woods Architects

Project Consultant and Construction Team

Aspect Studios, Landscape Consultant
Aurecon, Structural and Civil Engineer
Buro North, Signage and Wayfinding
DCWC, Project Manager
Encycle, Waste Management
Inhabit, Facade Engineer
NDY, Services Consultant
O’Brien Harrop, Disability Access
Planning Solutions, Town Planner
Resolve Group, Building Surveyor
RLB, Cost Consultant

Connect with Lyons with Silver Thomas Hanley, The Fulcrum Agency and Officer Woods Architects
Boola Katitjin | Lyons with Silver Thomas Hanley, Officer Woods, The Fulcrum Agency and Aspect Studios | Photographer: Lyons

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