Under a Common Roof
After a fifteen-year planning period, the inhabitants of Wickham in Western Australia finally got their new community center. A bent roofscape encompasses the communal spaces. The group of buildings also integrates existing and new sports facilities. Gresley Abas Architects from Perth were responsible for the architectural concept of the new Wickham Community Hub, tailor-made for the needs of the population.
The building’s main effect is created by the facade cladding, which is oriented in part outward, and in part toward the areaways. The cladding is composed of vertical stripes and solid-color Swisspearl fiber cement panels – 12,000 square meters of Swisspearl Carat in fourteen standard colors and eleven special colors.
This project is featured in the Swisspearl Architecture #29. Subscribe to our magazine to get the printed issue.
Wickam is located in an extremely remote region in the west of Australia. Rows of single-family homes define the townscape; in the midst of the residential settlement are the key facilities: small hotels, a supermarket, pharmacy, restaurant, and a community center with sports complex. The community center opened in May 2019, after an approximately fifteen-year planning period, and replaces previously existing but outdated facilities.
Gresley Abas Architects from Perth were responsible for the architectural concept of the new Wickham Community Hub, tailor-made for the needs of the population.
The extreme climate in this remote region
with violent winds and intense sunlight
called for a robust facade material. Swisspearl
was a perfect match!
To the north, the new building group connects up with an existing sports center; the building program encompasses also the modernization of the existing squash club, a community hall, and beyond that, the future expansion of the public swimming pool. The hub of the building project, however, is the actual community center. Conceived as intergenerational and inclusive, it is subdivided in roughly two parts: the community library including an Early Learning Center and a multipurpose hall in the east as well as a youth center with an additional multipurpose room in the west. Gray corrugated metal shapes the slightly buckled roofscape and leads in part over the walls down to the ground.
The contours of the building are not clearly demarcated; instead, the architects emphasized the outside spaces, which are partially developed with awnings, which for their part, seem like independent, delicate building volumes located in front of the structure. In the west, under the roofs, they integrated a skate park into the ensemble, which based on its largely single-story nature, seems almost pavilion-like.
The building’s main effect is created by the facade cladding, which is oriented in part outward, and in part toward the areaways. The cladding is composed of vertical stripes and solid-color fiber-cement panels from Swisspearl’s Carat product line. Several factors were decisive in the selection: in the extreme climate of the Pilbara region, which is shaped equally by violent winds and intense sunlight, required was a façade material that is maintenance-free, durable, and UV-proof.
Swisspearl Carat was a perfect match for these demands. The panels are robust, resistant, and non-combustible. The material also offered the color spectrum desired by the architects, and can be easily installed—this, too, is an important criterion in a remote region of the country.
For the total of 12,000 square meters of Swisspearl Carat for the façade, back in Switzerland, 2,000 individual panels were produced, customized, numbered, and tailored to the specific walls, so that they could be easily moved into the correct order on site. Gresley Abas uses fourteen standard colors and eleven special colors.
NICE TO KNOW
Wickham Community Hub
Gresley Abas, Perth, Australia
2018 – 2019
PDF project sheet
Swisspearl Largo Carat Sahara 7002, Crystal 7010, Black Opal 7022, 7024, Coral 7030, 7031, 7032, 7033, Azurite 7040, 7041, 7043, Sapphire 7061, Topaz 7073, Agate 7219 and eleven custom colors (HR)
Read more – Swisspearl Architecture magazine
Find more stories in our Swisspearl Architecture #29. Subscribe to our magazine to get the printed issue.