Perth’s General Post Office has held a special place in the hearts
of Western Australians since its opening in 1923.
At the time of its construction it was the tallest and most
grandiose building in Perth, helping to establish the
identity of our capital city, and designed to reflect a new
sense of importance and civic pride in Perth.
Its monumental scale and symmetrical façade,
decorated with classic motifs, Donnybrook freestone
and Mahogany Creek granite, was only equalled by the
magnificent interior with its extensive use of Western Australian jarrah in the two storey high postal hall.
Today, the Perth GPO is once again at the forefront
of design, as an excellent example of how heritage
buildings can be adapted for new uses.
The project team faced many challenges with a
building of this size and age, and far exceeded its
goal to preserve and enhance the building’s heritage
characteristics while incorporating contemporary
commercial and retail uses, all within a civic precinct.
The overriding design strategy throughout the entire
redevelopment was to remove extraneous fabric
and highlight the original features, and to make it as
environmentally sustainable as possible.
The original level 2 skylight structure was removed and
replaced with a new roof level lantern skylight allowing more natural light into the historic building while atrium
bridges provide a link across to levels 2 and 6.
The ground floor was redesigned to connect through
to one40william and the Perth underground railway
station, reinforcing the building’s role as a civic hub.
Within the seven floors of commercial office space, the
design referenced the building’s heritage by exposing the
original unique concrete ceiling structure and introducing services in panelled ceiling sections. Interpretative
artwork is cleverly used to tell the story of the building’s
The biggest challenge was inserting the dropped
ceiling panels which incorporated the chilled beam air-conditioning
system – believed to be the first use of this
technology in a commercial building in WA.
The GPO was the first heritage refurbishment to achieve
a Green Star rating in WA and it also achieved a National
Australian Built Environment 5 Star Rating.
The project won the 2010 Western Australian Heritage
Award for outstanding conservation to a non-residential place.
The WA Heritage Award judges said the project team
faced many challenges with a building of this size and
age, and far exceeded its goal to preserve and enhance
the building’s heritage characteristics while incorporating contemporary commercial and retail uses, all within a
The successful conservation and adaptation project has
reinstated this magnificent building in Forrest Place to
the landmark it was designed to be.
Take a look at a short video showing the Christmas lights projected onto the GPO. Return to the Main Gallery list