Built in the mid-1920s, Perth’s Hale House has been restored to house the WA Cabinet Secretariat and the Office of the Premier – and what better material to promote transparency of government than glass.
Just as the glass dome of the Reichstag building in Berlin invites public communion with the German Parliament, so the expansive glazed curtain walls at Hale House in Perth, WA, suggest a communal and interconnected working environment for State Government administration staff.
Originally created as a school, several years ago the historic brick building was identified as an ideal base for the Premier’s day-to-day offices and other governmental operations involving the Cabinet. Subsequently refurbished at a cost of more than $25 million, the newly restored Hale House is a fine example of how highly efficient contemporary double glazing can modernise a heritage structure without compromising its original aesthetic values.
Featuring more than 350 square metres of IGUs (insulated glazing units), the building now features extensive glazed curtain walls looking over an exposed courtyard, which also bathe the internal corridors, meeting rooms and offices of the building in natural light. In addition, the courtyard benefits from the airiness and spaciousness of glazed walling framing its perimeter, serving as a cheerful outside location for lunchtime breaks and rest periods.
The restoration project was designed in partnership between heritage architect Philip Griffiths and Cox Howlett & Bailey Woodland, with construction by Diploma. The glass and glazing elements were overseen by contractor Double Glazing Australasia, with Cooling Brothers supplying and installed the extensive glazing. “This was an exceptional project as far as glass and glazing were concerned,” says Cooling Brothers Director Vince Bianchini. “Not only were all the glass and glazing units made in Australia, which is a rarity these days, but this was the largest point-fixed IGU project undertaken in Western Australia to date – and a first for Cooling Brothers.”
The double glazed IGUs consist of 13.52mm toughened and heat-soaked SolTech™ neutral laminate/12mm black spacer structural silicon seal/10mm clear toughened and heat-soaked. The frameless curtain wall design was achieved using point fixings through each IGU connected to articulated ball joints, which were in turn connected to spider fixings (supplied by Nu Press and manufactured in Australia) on the steel structure. The result is a high-performance, energy-efficient glazed walling system that harmonises perfectly with the predominantly brick original structure, adding vibrancy and movement to the courtyard while promoting an indoor-outdoor ambience at ground level.
The glazing, Bianchini admits, certainly involved challenges. “It really was a learning experience for all involved,” he says, “the complexity was only enhanced by having to include cut-outs in some of the IGUs to work around the sliding door pelmet.” In addition, he explains, there were numerous installation challenges associated with working in an almost closed off courtyard under very cramped conditions.
“By working hand in hand with our partners at Double Glazing Australasia the project was delivered on time and on budget to the complete satisfaction of the client,” he says. The refurbished building, which stands just 150 metres from Parliament House, is now a bona fide part of the structure of government in WA. As Bianchini says, “Political parties may come and go, but this project will stand the test of time as something of which all parties can be proud.”
Client Double Glazing Australasia Location Perth City
Architect Philip Griffiths, Cox Howlett & Bailey Woodland Builder Diploma
Glass 13.52mm SolTech™ neutral IGU Volume 320sqm
Processing Insulcool Double Glazing, Toughening, Heat Soaking
Further information on the processes featured in this project can be found below: