Trades North


The Trades North TAFE Workshops project was completed at a total Contract Sum of approximately $16m, substantially under the original Pre-Tender estimate. The total construction sum also included additional works to enclose the fourth workshop and an external uncovered work area which was excluded in the initial pre-tender estimate.

Trades North at Clarkson was completed in early 2011 and has opened to much acclaim from the end users and the general public alike. Sited on a busy thoroughfare in the suburb of Clarkson, the building sits within a revegetated natural bushland setting and has been purpose built to address the skills shortages of pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship training in the areas of Building and Construction, metals, light manufacturing and electrical trades.

The building design has been derived from a simple abstraction of the metal and wood shavings produced through manufacturing processes and interpreted into a series of rolling, folded roofs in three colours which alternately rise and fall creating significant areas of skylighting facing North and South. The workshops are all linked together so they can be used separately or adjoined according to whether large doors are open or closed. Even when closed, visibility is maintained throughout the length of the expansive workshop area.

All enclosed support and equipment areas are contained in a continuous spine to the east of the workshops which is directly accessed from an external service area and the workshops themselves and all classroom spaces are located on a mezzanine level above the spine, an area afforded by the high volumes required by the workshop.

The facility is located along a long strip of land between a busy road and a high school which is elevated to the north of the site. To this end it was important that the roof formed the fifth elevation and the roofs form a wonderful tricoloured striped graphic for the school, set within a native landscape. The street frontage faces the West which provided the project with issues of sun penetration and heat gain solved through the development of the western walkway and sunshading.

The design cleverly creates a highly glazed frontage with large glazed opening garage-like doors which allow natural light and ventilation as well as access to the centre. This western wall is then fronted by the array of vertical fins in yellow, black and grey. These fins protect the facade from the penetration of direct light and create shade, animate, create a sense of movement, temper the view out to the road and become an integral part of the life of the building. In addition to the workshops a lively yet simple cafe environment has been created to the North connected to administrative functions.

The key to this project is the clever use of industrial materials in a new and innovative way. Large and clear spans have provided the Institute with exceptional value for money and flexibility for the diverse users which have been planned for the centre, now and into the future.

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Education, TAFE, School, University

Project Number

West Coast Institute of Technology

Completed 2011

Harmony Avenue, Clarkson 6030

$19.5 million (2011 prices)

Key Personnel
Libby Guj, Scott McConn, Paul Steed, Glenn Russell, Brad Shales, Megan Cordin, Hean Wei Phay

Services Provided
Masterplanning, Schematic Design, Design Development, Contract Documentation, Contract Administration, Interior design

Nic Pollard, Department of Education and Training 08 9264 4082

RAIA (WA Chapter), The Colorbond Award for Steel Architecture 2012, RAIA (WA Chapter), Architecture Award, Public Architecture 2012, Shortlisted in the World Architecture Festival Awards 2012

Gross Floor Area

Number of Levels
Single level plus mezzanine

Google Map Link
View on Google Maps

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Map Address
Harmony Avenue, Clarkson 6030

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